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Kuwaiti envoy to Germany discusses economic cooperation with institutions

Kuwait’s Ambassador to Germany Najeeb Al-Bader

BERLIN: Ambassador of the State of Kuwait to Germany Najeeb Al-Bader discussed in a virtual meeting on Tuesday, bilateral economic and trade cooperation between Kuwait and Germany. In the meeting, organized by the East and Near East Foundation for Economic Cooperation, the Ambassador affirmed that this conference reflects the traditional political, economic and cultural relationship between Europe and the Middle East on one hand, and the depth of Kuwaiti-German relations in all fields on the other hand.

He explained that Germany’s presidency of the European Union in the next six months comes within the framework of challenges related to the negative economic impacts left by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on Europe and the world. The other challenge relates to reaching an agreement on the Brexit, Ambassador Bader added, stressing that the timing of Germany’s EU’s presidency gives hope, due to a number of considerations, such as having the strongest economy in Europe led by a stable government.

During his presentation, Ambassador Bader focused on a number of axes related to the negative repercussions left by the COVID-19 pandemic on the world’s economies, as well as trade and investment between Kuwait and Germany. He reviewed a number of major negative impacts left by the pandemic on the global economy, including the Kuwaiti and German economies, especially those related to the export of industrial products, as the coronavirus crisis hit global economies and was not limited to a particular country or region, it became more difficult to get out of this crisis.

He expressed his belief that the consequences of the pandemic on the economies of the Arab countries were multiplied due to the decline in oil prices and the absence of sustainable stability in a number of Arab countries, thus affecting development of economy and development plans on the short and long terms. The crisis has caused some Arab countries, especially the Gulf states, to rethink their economic and development programs in light of the new reality imposed by the coronavirus crisis, he noted. He pointed to the decline in gross national product in Germany by 2.2 percent in the first quarter of this year, affected by the COVID-19, noting that this is the largest decline since the financial crisis in 2009.

Acceptable solution

Bader stated that it is not possible to talk about the Arab economic situation without referring to the importance of providing an acceptable Arab solution to the Palestinian issue and to the political crises in Libya, Syria and Yemen in a manner that contributes to achieving real and sustainable economic development in the Arab world. He stressed that without achieving political and security stability, it is not possible to achieve economic construction, appreciating in this regard the position taken by the Federal Parliament (the Bundestag) recently by passing a resolution demanding Israel not to its plans to annex lands from the West Bank, considering that such a step is not compatible with international law.

He praised the effective management by the German leadership headed by Chancellor Angela Merkel, which enabled Germany to overcome health and economic damages, explaining that the economic policies and support provided by the German government to its economic institutions enabled the control of the situation. As for the economic and commercial relations between Kuwait and Germany, Ambassador Bader praised the level of bilateral relations in all political and economic fields, as it helps Kuwait in resolving regional and humanitarian crises.

Ambassador Bader stated that Germany is the third global trade partner for Kuwait and the first among the EU countries, as the value of German exports to Kuwait in 2019 amounted to about 1.4 billion euros. He noted that there are more than 700 officially registered German brands in Kuwait, primarily cars, machines, electrical, chemical, and metal materials, in addition to foodstuffs and devices, while crude oil and its derivatives are the basis of Kuwaiti exports to Germany. In order to develop trade cooperation, there is a need to develop economic relations with Germany in the field of German direct investments in Kuwait and in eliminating the major imbalance in favor of Germany in the trade balance between the two countries, he explained.

Greater role

For more than half a century Kuwait embodied its seriousness and credibility in its relationship with Germany, which qualifies it to aspire to a greater role in the German strategy to ensure and stabilize the energy supply. Increasing Kuwait’s contribution to oil supplies to Germany is the fastest way to correct the severe deviation in the trade balance between the two countries, Ambassador Bader said.

He described the German investments to Kuwait as “modest and hesitant,” in light of the great transformation witnessed by the investment environment in Kuwait with all facilities provided, especially that Kuwait’s vision 2035 is based on ambitious development plans to implement large investment projects in all economic sectors. He stressed that the State of Kuwait attaches special importance to the development of its commercial and economic relationship with the Republic of Germany and what Germany can contribute to the vision of Kuwait 2035.

Germany can contribute to the support and success of this vision, through its active and direct participation in the projects to be launched in the State of Kuwait, affirming at the same time the friendly relations between Kuwait and Germany. He directed his call to German companies to continue and activate the trade exchange between the two countries in light of the current challenges facing global trade and to show the benefits of economic cooperation, production diversity and international openness that accompanies the global development in providing an attractive environment for investment.

It should be noted that the Middle East and Near East Foundation for Economic Cooperation is the oldest and largest German organization for economic development, and former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder is honorary president. This institution contributes to strengthening relations between Germany and the countries of the Near and Middle East, as this region is distinguished by its vitality and diversity and provides companies with exceptional opportunities for economic success. —KUNA

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