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Kuwait's economic success highlighted at forum in Brussels
May 11, 2017, 9:06 am

A one-day economic Forum in the Belgian capital on Wednesday emphasized the great leap taken by Kuwait in the economic and trade sectors in recent years.

"The State of Kuwait owes its success in large part to the stability and vision provided by the strong relationship between the Kuwaiti people and the ruling Al-Sabah family" Fahad Al-Jaimaz, counselor and charge d'affaires of the Kuwait embassy in Brussels told the forum.

"The current plan is to transform Kuwait into a world class financial and commercial center with the private sector leading economic activities," he said.

He announced that the Ambassador of Kuwait to Belgium, Jasem Al-Budaiwi, sends his warmest regards from Kuwait where he is attending official meetings.

Al-Jaimaz said the Kuwaiti government has set out to achieve this vision through pursuing five strategic goals, increasing GDP, investing in the private sector, supporting human and social development NS Improving population policies.

The State of Kuwait has one of the most vocal and vibrant democracies in the region; a heritage of governance that goes back centuries. The open and free discussion of politics and governance is a part of Kuwaiti society and of everyday life, he said.

The State of Kuwait emerged from the global financial crisis stronger than ever. Despite a decline in oil prices the country was given an excellent financial health rating by international market analysts due to efficient government oversight and strong growth by the Kuwait Sovereign Wealth Fund, said the Kuwaiti diplomat.

Moreover, he said,investor confidence is strong in the State of Kuwait; recently the government attempted to raise USD 8 billion in bonds. There was so much faith in the financial stability of Kuwaiti markets that investors immediately raised USD 32 billion in bonds.

The State of Kuwait is currently in the midst of its second mega economic development plan, which includes investments of over USD 103 billion in projects related to oil, gas, electricity, water, housing, health, education, transport, communications, tourism, and the environment, said Al Jaimaz.

He encouraged financiers, investors, investment institutions, and corporations in Europe to increase their activity in Kuwait. The economic forum devoted to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries was organized by the Arab-Belgian-Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce (ABLCC) and hosted by the BNP Paribas-Forhis bank.

The Head of Kuwait Petroleum International's operating unit in Northwest Europe, better known by its brand name Q8, Fadel Al-Faraj highlighted the brand's success in the Benelux countries.
He gave a presentation on Q8's activities in Belgium and Luxembourg, and shared the success stories his company has seen over the past three decades.

Al-Faraj spoke about Q8's strides towards expansion in the retail and lubricant markets in the EU region and the Company's keen interest in regional investment opportunities to strengthen its business.

He noted that Q8's success is owed to its diverse team of Belgian and Luxembourg workers who work hand in hand with their Kuwaiti counterparts to drive Q8's business success.

He also commented that the positive trade ties between Arab companies and the Belgian government have had a positive role in facilitating operations and strengthening relations Between the Kuwaiti oil sector and its customers in Europe.

He further affirmed that Q8 will continue to play its role in real maximize the value of Kuwait's hydrocarbon resources through effective integrated value chain activities and international marketing.

The ABLCC Economic Forum was attended by a large number of Belgian and Arab entrepreneurs, Arab ambassadors and diplomats posted to the Belgian Capital, and members of various trade associations and journalists.

Ambassador of UAE in Belgium, Mohamed Issa Abushahab, said that the EU was UAE's top trading partner in 2015 with a total trade value of 62 billion euro (USD 67 bn). He devoted much of his speech to inform the audience about the Dubai Expo 2020.

Peter Young, a high-ranking trade official of the European Commission, noted the EU represents 16 percent of total GCC trade. The EU is the first trading partner of the GCC and the GCC is the fourth export market of the EU. The GCC represents 5.7 of the EU exports.

Mineral fuels including petroleum products account for 65.9 percent of GCC exports to the EU. EU's most exported product to the GCC are machinery and transport equipment, he noted.
Young announced that the first ever conference on EU-GCC investment opportunities will be held in the Saudi capital Riyadh next week.

Peter Pollaert, head of cash management and global transactions at the BNP Paribas Fortis bank said the bank is represented in five Gulf countries Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. BNP Pribas was the first international bank in Kuwait to be granted a license by the Central Bank of Kuwait in 2004.

ABLCC Secretary General, Qaisar Hijazin said trade exchanges between the Arab world and Belgium and Luxembourg amounted to 18.5 billion (USD 20 bn) euro last year despite the drop in oil price.

Source: KUNA

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