Kuwaiti-Sino investment forum carries lofty expectations: Hajraf
SHANGHAI: Kuwait’s Minister of Finance and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA) Dr Nayef Al-Hajraf inaugurated yesterday KIA’s office in Shanghai, China, in the presence of Managing Director Farouk Bastaki, a number of Chinese businessmen, financial and investment figures. In a statement to the press, Hajraf said the opening of this office is a continuation of KIA’s efforts that started in 2011 when it opened its representation office in the Chinese capital Beijing. This office is the first foreign investment office opened by the KIA since the establishment of the Kuwait Investment Office in London in 1953, Hajraf said.
The inauguration of this office is a confirmation of the historical relationship between Kuwait and the Republic of China, which has been going on for decades, he stressed. He added that it is a result of the successful visit of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah to the Republic of China last July and his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping to enhance cooperation with China in all fields. The office in Shanghai will aim to train national cadres in various investment fields and to develop human resources, in addition to qualifying Kuwaiti youth properly, he said. KIA selection of China as the headquarters for its foreign investment office was a natural response to the global position of the Chinese economy, he confirmed.
Meanwhile, Hajraf said that 400 Chinese companies were invited to participate in the first Sino-Kuwaiti investment forum to be held in Shanghai today, calling on all Chinese companies to participate actively in the development plan in Kuwait. The forum is organized jointly by the Kuwaiti Ministry of Finance, KIA and Kuwait Direct Investment Promotion Authority (KDIPA). The one-day forum will discuss investment opportunities available in the State of Kuwait including sectors such as oil construction, housing, infrastructure and information technology. The forum will also discuss the attractiveness of the Kuwaiti market regionally and efforts exerted to improve business environment and the foreign investment environment in light of recent developments on the regulatory environment in the country and the impact of modern economic laws on the Kuwaiti economy.
A Kuwaiti economic delegation led by the Finance Minister Dr Nayef Al-Hajraf arrived in Shanghai Tuesday to sponsor the opening of the first Sino-Kuwaiti investment forum tomorrow. Kuwait and China signed on Monday a memorandum of understanding forming a mechanism for development of cooperation for Silk City and the five Kuwaiti islands.
The forum is likely to open new doors for the Gulf state’s burgeoning private sector, Hajraf said. The initiative aims to ratchet up economic cooperation between Kuwait and the world’s most populous nation, Hajraf said in a statement a day before the event. He pinpointed His Highness the Kuwaiti Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah’s visit to Beijing last July as the catalyst that helped reinvigorate bilateral ties. The Kuwaiti minister said he had high expectations for the meeting, saying it could propel Kuwait’s ties with China to new levels, besides being a chance to examine investment opportunities both nations have to offer. Kuwait has much to offer in terms of investment, with diverse sectors running the gamut from the oil and technology industries to infrastructure, he explained.
Also yesterday, Hajraf held talks with a number of Chinese officials, focusing on investment ties and economic cooperation. The talks revolved around the ample investment opportunities available in Kuwait and China, read a statement by the Kuwaiti Finance Ministry, a day before the inaugural Kuwaiti-Chinese investment forum. The meeting comes just months after His Highness the Kuwaiti Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah’s visit to Beijing last July, which served as the catalyst that helped reinvigorate bilateral ties. The investment conference carries lofty expectations, amid Kuwait’s hopes that the event could open new doors for the Gulf state’s burgeoning private sector. The Kuwaiti minister is currently leading a high-level delegation on a visit to China’s most populous city.
Meanwhile, KIA Managing Director Farouk Bastaki said that KIA’s selection of China as the second station for opening an external office in comes because of its great assets and potentials. This came in a brief statement the press on the sidelines of the opening ceremony. The Kuwaiti investment office in Shanghai will be an important station through which Kuwaiti investments will move towards the Asian continent, which is full of promising investment opportunities, Bastaki said.
Head of the Kuwait Investment Office in Shanghai Abdul Razzaq Al-Baeijan said meanwhile that the opening of the office came after KIA met all the requirements of the Chinese authorities, adding that the Investment Office of Kuwait was granted a license to practice investment management on behalf of KIA. He said the license came after two years of negotiations with the Shanghai government for an asset management license through which the bureau could manage all KIA’s assets in China and expand in the future in Asia. He stressed that this would not have been possible without the successful visit of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah to China last July and his support to the Kuwaiti-Chinese relations to move to new levels of cooperation between the two countries. He said that Kuwait is the first foreign country to be granted this license, saying this reflects depth of the bilateral ties between the two countries, which is usually granted to companies and not to countries.
Baeijan said that the available investments available in China are many and varied, including the shares offered in the Chinese stock exchanges, bonds and direct acquisitions in Chinese companies, including the banking sector, and the information technology sector. He pointed out that the Office has launched an initiative for Chinese companies to provide training programs for Kuwaiti national cadres to qualify them to manage assets in bonds, stocks and direct acquisitions. He noted that KIA office’s license in Beijing is still in place but will be canceled during the next stage because its role is limited to establishing public relations and not entitled to engage in any investment activity and ended his role by building bridges of cooperation and knowledge with Chinese companies. – KUNA