WASHINGTON: Chairman of the Kuwait Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mohammed Al-Saqr, said on Tuesday that the Kuwait-Canada business forum aims to open new horizons to strengthen trade and economic relations between the two countries. This came in a speech delivered by Al-Saqr during the forum, which began on Monday in the Canadian city of Montreal and continues until the 5th of this October. A high-level Kuwaiti economic delegation is in Canada.

Al-Saqr expressed his pleasure and gratitude for holding this meeting, which confirms the growing investment and trade relations between the two countries, pointing to the high-level participation of the Kuwaiti delegation, which includes representatives from companies in the insurance sector, banking, investment, industry, oil, gas, and renewable energy sectors, in addition to representatives from the Ministry of Health, the Investment Promotion Authority, the General Organization for Social Insurance, and the National Fund for the support and development of small and medium enterprises.

He added that the forum provides an important opportunity to strengthen bilateral ties in the fields of hydrocarbon discoveries and production, logistics, agricultural, and food trade, and also aims to attract broad Canadian expertise and knowledge in the fields of finance and industrial technology. He explained that these goals and ambitions are based on the strong foundations on which both countries are based, considering that Kuwait is a major investor and a long-term trading partner of Canada.

The total Kuwaiti direct investment in Canada has reached $7.1 billion. In 2022, Kuwait ranked first on the list of the top 10 countries in Asia. He pointed out that the bilateral trade amounted to 600 million US dollars in 2022, with the possibility of a more upward increase. Al-Saqr stressed that the strength of the relationship between the two countries is represented by their agreement on a close commitment to democracy, peace, and equality, which is evidenced by the support Kuwait received from Canada during the liberation war and joint efforts to maintain peace. In the field of education, Al-Saqr said that Canada is a major Kuwait’s partner in the field of education.

In 2019, about 450 Kuwaiti students were sent to Canadian universities to study medicine. In 2015, Algonquin College became the first Canadian college in Kuwait. He pointed to the important role played by the Arab presence in Canada in the process of social and cultural rapprochement and the strengthening of Arab-Canadian relations in general. In his speech, he stressed the historical importance of the city of Montreal as an important center of the fur trade during the XVII–XVIII centuries and was instrumental in the exploration and expansion of Canada, the opening of vast territories, and the creation of economic opportunities that laid the foundation for Canada’s future prosperity.

He considered that the city of Montreal remains a “beacon of opportunities” and builds on its flexibility, innovation, and unity. The meeting was attended by the ambassador of Kuwait to Canada, Reem Al-Khaled; the Canadian ambassador to Kuwait, Alia Mwani; the director of Asia and the Middle East of the Quebec Investment Corporation, Claire Yu; and the vice president of the Arab Business Council. It was also attended by about 100 people from the Canadian business sector.

The forum’s program included showcasing opportunities for cooperation and investment in the fields of oil and gas, food, transportation, education, health, logistics, artificial intelligence, and innovation, as well as addressing the areas of banking, finance, and insurance. During the forum, members of the Kuwaiti delegation presented several working papers and discussion sessions aimed at presenting investment opportunities in Kuwait, in which Mutlaq Al-Zayed, CEO of Kuwaiti flour mills and bakeries; Hanadi Al-Saleh, Chairman of Agility Public Stores Company; and Qasim Al-Majadi, Chairman of the Offshore Petroleum Exploration Company, participated. - KUNA