Kuwait-Russian economic ties developing progressively
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.