KUWAIT: Kuwait’s Minister of Commerce and Industry Khaled Al-Roudhan yesterday discussed with Chinese officials ways to encourage Chinese firms to open their headquarters in Kuwait through the Direct Investment Promotion Authority. His discussions with Chinese Vice Minister of Commerce Qian Keiming focused on alleviating obstacles to the development of bilateral trade relations, read a Ministry statement.
The Kuwaiti minister, on the fringes of the China-Arab States Expo in the northwestern Chinese city of Yinchuan, also met with the representatives of several Chinese companies specialized in financial services, investment and transportation, like Sany, JD and China North Industries Corp. These companies are currently involved in many projects in Kuwait, he was quoted as saying. The minister went on to underline the importance of learning from China’s practices in the fields of small and micro enterprises and developing a similar approach in Kuwait. China is Kuwait’s largest non-oil trade partner with deals worth around $9.5 billion struck between the two in 2016.
Meanwhile, Kuwait’s Minister of Commerce and Industry arrived in Beijing yesterday for talks focused on attracting Chinese investments in Kuwait. Al-Roudhan, who doubles as State Youth Minister is expected to meet CEOs of China’s biggest state-owned and private firms on his second stop in China having attended the China-Arab States Expo in Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region. Both countries are keen to boost bilateral relations, as China seeks to carry out giant projects in Kuwait in the wake of His Highness the Amir’s strategic 2035 vision and President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road project, Kuwaiti Ambassador to China Jawhar Hayat said.
Kuwait’s plans to transform itself into a financial hub and to build an international port, mirroring its trade history as a transit stop for goods, go hand in hand with China’s plans to revive the ancient Silk Route. Kuwait was also the first Arab country to sign an agreement linking it to the Belt and Road project. These plans aim to diversify Kuwait’s dependence on oil as a sole financial resource, he explained.
In May, Amiri Diwan Minister Sheikh Nasser Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah took part in the Silk Summit held in Beijing where he met President Xi Jinping and Vice President Li Yuanchao. The visit did much to improve relations between both countries and boost Kuwait’s standing as a regional and international financial and trade hub. Later in August, Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Goali, during a visit to Kuwait, said that both nations saw eye-to-eye in regards to Kuwait’s Vision 2030 and China’s Belt and Road project. The ambassador also pointed out an earlier visit of Chinese strategic experts to Kuwait in July whereby they discussed with officials forms of cooperation across several fields.- Agencies