Qatar and Kuwait have one of the strongest strategic relations and bilateral trade and investment alliances in the Middle East region, said First deputy chairman of the Kuwait Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Abdulwahab al-Wazzan.
In an exclusive interview with the Qatari newspaper Lusail published yesterday, al-Wazzan said Qatari investments in Kuwait amount to 40% of foreign investments, about $4.1bn, adding it is expected that the bilateral meetings between the two sides will bring more joint projects.
The trade exchange between the two countries has achieved an annual growth of 27% since 2016, reaching $534mn in 2018, compared to $330mn in 2016, he said, adding that the growth of Kuwaiti exports to Qatar is driven by demand for food products and chemical products, as the value of each category increased almost fourfold since 2016, while the value of manufactured exports has doubled and the value of exported machines increased by 57%.
Al-Wazzan pointed out that the preliminary figures showed the volume of trade exchange between the two countries was estimated to be at $293mn for the first nine months of 2019.
He hoped that such relations will continue to grow, especially with the recent agreement to supply 1mn tonnes of Qatari Liquefied Natural Gas annually to Kuwait over the next 15 years, which is another step towards developing the close and mutual trade relations, along with Kuwaiti imports that play an increasingly important role in the Qatari market, in addition to the opening of a representative office for the Kuwait Public Authority for Industry in the Qatar Chamber, the establishment of a permanent exhibition for Qatari industries in Kuwait, and the organising of a joint exhibition for the products of the two countries in different countries around the world.
The top Kuwait Chamber official pointed out that the most important sectors that can witness growth in investments are the information technology and programming sector, environmental services, healthcare, warehousing and logistics services, tourism and hospitality and entertainment sectors.
Regarding the inauguration of the maritime line between Qatar and Kuwait, al-Wazzan described the line as an important and major factor for increasing the commercial exchange between Qatar and Kuwait in the next stage, pointing out that the next period requires taking advantage of the maritime line to increase the export and import of industrial products in a way that reduces dependence on oil and energy as key sources of income.
As for the joint trade exhibitions between the two countries, he pointed out that organising such exhibitions contributes to the promotion of national products and enhances communication between merchants and manufacturers in a manner that supports achieving a strategic industrial and commercial partnership between the Kuwaiti and Qatari business sectors, serves the national economy, and enhances trade exchanges.
Al-Wazzan hoped that the coming period will witness visits by a number of economic delegations between the two countries with a view to discussing ways to enhance cooperation between the Qatari and Kuwaiti companies and to upgrade the level of trade exchange between the two sides and establish joint projects.
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