Kuwait, US enjoy strong trade relationship: US Embassy official
KUWAIT: The US Embassy in Kuwait, in collaboration with the American Business Council (ABC), announced the launch of the ‘Discover America’ event to be held from Oct 30 to Nov 9, 2019. Discover America is an annual event aimed at showcasing US products and businesses to promote American interests here. The event is held in close collaboration with various American brands and companies. Participating companies and outlets announce discounts and promotional prices for their products and services. The 10-day event includes business seminars and cultural programs.
Discover America highlights
Discover America will commence on Oct 30 with BBQ and music at Jumeirah Hotel, which is open to the public. A tour of the Sultan Center and the 4,000 American products they offer will be held on Oct 31. Sultan Center will provide special offers for US products throughout Discover America Week. On Nov 1, a Harley Davidson ride will be held at the Jaber Causeway. The Harley Davidson group will be leading the event, which is open to the Embassy community and the general public. On Nov, an educational expo will also be held at Mishref Fairgrounds – Hall 4A (open to the public).
An Education USA advisor and representative from the consular section of the US Embassy will be present at the fair to answer any questions related to visa procedures and studying in the United States. Also, a franchising event will be organized by Francorp ME. It will be held at Shaheed Park with several speakers and will discuss various aspects of how to purchase a US franchise. On Nov 4, a seminar on how to supply to US military bases in Kuwait will be held. Experts from the US army and air force will speak, highlighting how local companies can sell to the US military.
On Nov 5, a screening of Apollo 11, a Hollywood movie, will be held at Vox Cinema, The Avenues, Phase 4. Also, by invitation only, the AFCENT band will perform at the American University of Kuwait and the public performance of the group will be held at Marina Crescent, Salmiya. A 5K Fun Run/Walk will be held at the Boulevard Mall outdoor track in Salmiya. This event is open to the public. Special promotions at hotels, restaurants and retail stores at The Avenues, 360 Mall and around Kuwait will be held, especially by participating US companies.
Kuwait and the US enjoy a strong trade relationship according to Shari Stout, Senior Commercial Officer at the US Embassy. “The two countries frequently collaborate on enhancing political, defense and commercial cooperation. On October 18, the US-Kuwait Business Council was launched in Washington, DC. US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross attended the event along with the Kuwaiti ambassador in the US. Founding US corporate members and other distinguished guests also participated in the inaugural program,” she said.
Stout said bilateral trade totaled over $5 billion in 2018 – US exported goods and services worth $3 billion and imported approximately $2 billion in mostly petroleum-based products. Transportation is a major component of US exports to Kuwait – it is a third of total exports. “Kuwait is a significant investor in the United States, and we continue to work with the Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA) and private Kuwaiti investment firms to promote the United States as a trusted and profitable destination for further investment,” she added.
In 2018, Kuwait had more than 13,200 students enrolled at US universities. Kuwaitis entered the United States more than 62,658 times for tourism and thousands of Kuwaitis traveled to the United States for medical treatment. Stout said most of the challenges to doing business in Kuwait relate to the slow tendering process and the numerous approvals required for most business activities. The pace of government procurement moves more slowly than in comparable markets.
“Delayed and incomplete payments have increased over the past year. A drop in oil prices in recent years has resulted in a budget deficit. Improvements in intellectual property rights are also needed. As part of our continuing strategic dialogue, the United States and Kuwait will continue working together to overcome obstacles to bilateral investment in our two countries,” she noted during the press conference.
Throughout the Discover America program, the US Embassy team, including Charge d’Affaires Larry Memmott, will attend events and visit various US retail outlets that are promoting US products and brands. “I am thrilled to kick off the seventh annual Discover America Week with an American barbeque dinner and music performance at Jumeriah Hotel and Spa on October 30. Over the next 11 days, we will be promoting various cultural aspects of life in the United States including music, film, food, sports, motorcycles, education and tourism,” Memmott said.
He added: “There will be special offers at numerous American restaurants and stores around Kuwait City, live performances from the US Air Force Central Command band, and a screening of the movie ‘America’s Musical Journey’ at Vox Cinemas. Discover America showcases the strong bonds between the US and Kuwait, and the cultural connections that broaden and deepen our ties. I hope that you’ll join me at some of the exciting events taking place over the next two weeks.”
“The American Business Council Kuwait (ABCK) is proud to join the Embassy in this year’s Discover America as the exclusive business partner. We look forward to exciting events over the coming 11 days, highlighting US businesses, products, culture, food and much more,” Esra Cavdarali Menke, Executive Director of the American Business Council Kuwait, said. Also present at the Discover America press conference were Frank Belonus, Vice Chairman of ABCK, and Ravi Candadai, Public Affairs Councilor at the US Embassy.
By Ben Garcia