Kuwait-Rus­sian eco­nomic ties de­vel­op­ing pro­gres­sively

Kuwait Times - - LOCAL -

KUWAIT: Eco­nomic and trade re­la­tions be­tween Kuwait and Rus­sia have been pro­gress­ing with the two coun­tries show­ing more keen­ness for ce­ment­ing ties and co­op­er­a­tion in dif­fer­ent do­mains. His High­ness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ah­mad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah’s Novem­ber 10th visit to Sochi, Rus­sia, will be a turn­ing point in bi­lat­eral ties, as in­vestors from the two coun­tries are look­ing for­ward for key res­o­lu­tions by the Kuwaiti and Rus­sian lead­ers to fur­ther ac­ti­vate eco­nomic co­op­er­a­tion and en­cour­age in­vest­ment. Kuwait-Rus­sian trade ex­change does not match the huge ca­pa­bil­i­ties of the two na­tions.

Kuwait im­ported KD 52 mil­lion ($171 mil­lion) of Rus­sian goods in 2013, while ex­port­ing KD 2.5 mil­lion ($8.2 mil­lion) to the Rus­sian Fed­er­a­tion, re­flect­ing need to ex­pand trade and eco­nomic ties. Thir­ty­seven per­cent of Kuwait’s im­ports from Rus­sia were cop­per, 35.5 per­cent ce­re­als and 13.8 per­cent iron. Kuwait and Rus­sia signed their first trade agree­ment in 1965, which called for pro­mo­tion of trade and eco­nomic co­op­er­a­tion. A ma­jor trade deal was signed in 1985 and then an agree­ment to es­tab­lish a com­mit­tee for eco­nomic and sci­en­tific co­op­er­a­tion in 1995.

An agree­ment on en­cour­ag­ing and pro­tec­tion of in­vest­ment came into ef­fect in May 1996. The last agree­ment, about preven­tion of dual tax­a­tion, was signed in 2003. All th­ese agree­ments, in ad­di­tion to Kuwait’s par­tic­i­pa­tion in the Ara­bia Expo that was held in Moscow in 2008, mir­ror the two coun­tries’ de­sire to strengthen trade bonds.

Co­op­er­a­tion has in­deed gone up to higher lev­els when Rus­sian gas com­pany (Gazprom) ex­ported four LNG ship­ments be­tween 2011-15. Gazprom Chair­man Vik­tor Zubkov, in a pre­vi­ous state­ment to KUNA, said Kuwait and Rus­sia could have good co­op­er­a­tion in the field of LNG, es­pe­cially af­ter Kuwait in­stalled LNG-re­lated fa­cil­i­ties. Kuwait also hosted last year a del­e­ga­tion from the Arab-Rus­sian Busi­ness­men Coun­cil, which ex­pressed de­sire to in­vest in the Kuwaiti mar­ket spe­cially with the con­struc­tion of mega de­vel­op­ment projects. The del­e­ga­tion said the Rus­sian-Kuwaiti eco­nomic re­la­tions could be fur­ther strength­ened by the pri­vate sec­tors, and that Rus­sia wel­comed bi­lat­eral col­lab­o­ra­tion in the fields of peace­ful nu­clear en­ergy and wa­ter de­sali­na­tion. Rus­sia, at a re­gional level, ini­ti­ated a $500 mil­lion in­vest­ment fund with the Gulf Co­op­er­a­tion Coun­cil (GCC) in 2007 with the aim of pro­mot­ing and en­cour­ag­ing in­vest­ments.

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