A senior official of a Japanese government-related organization on Wednesday proposed to hold a seminar to familiarize Japanese companies with the latest development in the Kuwaiti economy and its improving business environment. This proposal was made by Tsuneyuki Kato, Executive Vice President of the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) during his talks here with Director-General of the Kuwait Direct Investment Promotion Authority (KDIPA) Sheikh Dr. Meshaal Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah.
"We are looking for investments that have technology and innovation to help us create jobs for Kuwaitis, and other added value investment in the Kuwaiti economy. I believe all these criteria and high quality are available in our friends in Japan," KDIPA chief told Kato. "Japanese investors and private sector have this value that we are looking for, and this is why we are here today," he added.
Sheikh Dr. Meshaal also showed keenness on encouraging Japanese investors to return to the "huge and emerging" Kuwait market after many of them left following the Gulf War and use Kuwait as a regional hub. Underlining efforts exerted by the Kuwaiti government and parliament in improving the business environment in the country, he also explained to Kato the government's decision last year to suspend the offset program and update of the nation's economic development.
In addition, he underlined introduction of new Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Law and the amended Commercial Companies Law as well as the newly-established KD 2 billion National Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Fund among other fresh or revamped measure. Meanwhile, he explained functions of his authority, which is tasked with creating an attractive environment for FDI into Kuwait, streamlining business environment, facilitating procedures and resolving obstacles. The new FDI Law handled by KDIPA allows 100 percent foreign ownership without local partners or agents in a number of sectors, and grants incentives such as a 10-year tax holiday and customs duty exemption, he explained.
For his part, Kato thanked Sheikh Dr. Meshaal for providing an informative update, saying, "This is very good news to Japanese companies which are interested in the Kuwaiti market. Many Japanese firms have moved to Dubai or neighboring countries after 1990, but your market (has great potential), not only in the oil sector, but also infrastructure, IT, transportation and other areas."
As for the seminar, the official said, "Our Dubai office is in charge of the Kuwaiti business, and as many Japanese companies are stationed in Dubai, it might be a good idea if our Dubai office would hold a seminar to convey them good information and explain that business climate in Kuwait is improving." Sheikh Dr. Meshaal also urged the Japanese side to take part in the mega projects under the Kuwait Development Plan for 2015-2020 involving more than 500 strategic projects.
"We are very happy to update the JETRO on the latest development in the Kuwait economy, and the Japanese side showed enthusiasm. Hopefully we see the result in the near future and the Japanese companies (garnering) Kuwait benefit from those developments," he told Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) after the meeting. Kuwaiti Ambassador in Japan Abdulrahman Al-Otaibi, Minister at the Japanese Embassy in Kuwait Kazuhiro Nakai, and KDIPA officials Bader Al-Jadi and Mohammed Al-Sabbagh also attended the talks. Established in 1958 as a government-related organization, JETRO currently works to promote foreign direct investment into Japan and helps small and medium-sized Japanese firms maximize their global export potential.