Undersecretary of the Kuwaiti Ministry of Commerce and Industry Abdulaziz Al-Khaledi on Wednesday urged the Kuwaiti and Chinese businesspeople to capitalize on the special ties between the two countries in partnering to launch joint ventures.
Together with Kuwait's act on foreign direct investment, the bilateral ties offer ample opportunities for investors from both sides, he told reporters on the sidelines of the opening ceremony of Kuwait branch of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC).
He affirmed that the bilateral ties, particularly in the economic, commercial and investment domains, have grown remarkably in the recent years thanks to the strong backing from the political leaders.
The opening ceremony was attended by Kuwait Ambassador to China Saleh Al-Thuwaikh, chairman of ICBC Jiang Jianqing and China Ambassador to Kuwait Cui Jianchun.
Ambassador Al-Thuwaikh said the ICBC is China largest bank and one of the world's leading financial institutions in terms of the value of assets which hit USD three trillion.
"The friendly ties between the two countries date back to long decades before the establishment of the diplomatic ties on March 22, 1971," he said, noting that Kuwait was the first Gulf country to recognize the People's Republic of China.
"Late Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah visited China in February, 1965, in his capacity as the then minister of finance and industry and minister of commerce," Ambassador Al-Thuwaikh noted.
"Since then, the friendship and bilateral ties have kept growing on the basis of mutual respect, equality and shared interests. "The two countries signed their first agreement on economic and technical cooperation on December 26, 1977, one year ahead of China's economic reforms," he went on.
Ambassador Al-Thuwaikh added that China is one of Kuwait's most important trade partners, noting that the bilateral trade volume hit USD 13 billion in 2013.
On his part, Chairman Jiang Jianqing said at the ceremony that Kuwait and China, though different in resource endowment, are complementary to each other in economy and have great potential for bilateral cooperation. The successful visit to China by His Highness the Prime Minister of Kuwait Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah in last June year brought the bilateral economic and trade relationship to a new level, he said. The increasingly frequent trade, the construction of the New Silk Road Economic Zone, railway, 21st century Ocean Silk Road, and personnel exchange between the two countries has laid solid foundation for China-Kuwait financial cooperation, and also raised higher demand for cross-border banking services, he added. The newly-established ICBC Kuwait Branch will play a role of a financial bridge between Kuwait and China, and strive to be an excellent bank that enjoys satisfaction by local government, confidence by the public, recognition by customers and good reputation in the society.
The establishment of ICBC Kuwait Branch is a new milestone of ICBC's globalization strategy by further optimizing the bank's network in Middle East. ICBC Kuwait Branch has the full banking license offering high-quality financial products and diversified, comprehensive financial service to cater to customers' requirements. At the same time, the branch will continue the cooperation with other institutions in Middle East to upgrade its comprehensive service capability.
Nowadays ICBC has an extensive network of 331 overseas branches and affiliates covering 40 countries and regions across Asia, Africa, Latin America, North America, Europe and Australia. ICBC is the first Chinese bank to operate in Kuwait, marking a historic start of Chinese bank's presence in Kuwait. ICBC Kuwait Branch is the fourth branch of ICBC in the Middle East region after Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha.