ABCK-AmCham Kuwait and The Global Chamber host a Webinar on ‘Kuwait’s Economic Landscape: Opportunities in Kuwait & the U.S.’
May 26, 2022. ABCK-AmCham Kuwait and The Global Chamber hosted a webinar on ‘Kuwait’s Economic Landscape: Opportunities in the U.S. and Kuwait’ in collaboration with the Maryland Department of Commerce, Global Chamber Los Angeles, Global Chamber Miami, and Global Chamber Baltimore/ Washington with the support of the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait, the World Bank, and the Kuwait Direct Investment Promotion Authority (KDIPA). The event focused on different aspects of doing business in Kuwait and the U.S. and highlighted binational business opportunities between Kuwait and the U.S.
The event started with the opening remarks by Pete Swift, AmCham Kuwait’s Chairman who welcomed the participants and spoke about the importance of continuing to do binational events to promote stronger trade and investment between both countries. Swift then introduce Yousif Almahdi, Commercial Specialist at the U.S. Embassy who spoke about the Commercial Section’s services, and their role in supporting U.S. businesses’ interests, as well as the upcoming SelectUSA Summit which will be held from June 26-29 in Washington D.C. The SelectUSA Investment Summit will be a great opportunity for foreign entities to learn more about investing in the U.S., as it will allow them to connect with legal experts, local businesses, and economic developers. The Summit will showcase investment opportunities in the U.S., and high-profile experts will share insight on the latest business trends.
Following Almahdi, Paola de la Roche, Executive Director of AmCham Kuwait introduced the second speaker from Kuwait’s side – Ismail Radwan, the World Bank Group’s Lead Economist for the GCC- who spoke about Kuwait’s Economic Landscape. Radwan provided an overview of Kuwait’s economic growth, as he mentioned that the economic growth dropped by 8.9% in 2020, rebounded by 2.3% in 2021, and is expected to grow by 5.9% in 2022. He also mentioned that higher oil prices have managed to narrow the deficit by about 11%, however, the deficit remains a challenge due to there not being a borrowing law in place. Furthermore, Radwan spoke about the oil production increase as OPEC quotas are lifted and Al Zour refinery starts its operations. To finalize his presentation, Radwan highlighted the gradual tightening of Kuwait’s monetary policy, as it will support bringing inflation back down.
Following Radwan’s presentation, de la Roche introduced Bashayer Al Usaimi, Head of Project Evaluation & Granting Incentives Section from KDIPA who spoke about Kuwait’s 2035 vision and provided an in-depth discussion on the seven pillars: Economy, Infrastructure, Public Administration, Global Position, Healthcare, Human Capital, Living Environment. Al Usaimi also spoke about Kuwait’s unique proposition highlighting the low corporate tax rate which currently stands at 15% for foreign entities, in which foreign entities that partner with KDIPA can potentially be tax-exempt for up to 10 years. Al Usaimi spoke about Kuwait’s opportunities which include 17 projects from the approved Interim Strategy 2021-2023, as KDIPA’s alignment with the KNDP-III includes the development of the Economic North Zone, and the development of an integrated & transparent government. To finalize her presentation, Al Usaimi spoke about KDIPA’s new modern FDI law which has brought several improvements to the country including new legal forms, set criteria for foreign entities, the established one-stop- department, and 30 days for using an investment license, and extended incentives & guarantees. Foreign entities who wish to partner with KDIPA can obtain incentives such as up to 100% ownership, tax exemption for up to 10 years, custom duties exemption, land facilitation, foreign labor, and benefits of bilateral treaties. Some of the guarantees for foreign entities include free trade transfer of capital earnings, project information protection, protection from expropriation, and transfer of ownership. To finalize her presentation, Al Usaimi spoke about the success stories of companies who have partnered with KDIPA including Honeywell, NOV Wellborn Solutions, Boeing, and many other foreign entities.
Following Kuwait’s economic landscape discussion, Doug Bruhnke the Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Global Chamber introduced Signe Pringle, Deputy Secretary for the Maryland Department of Commerce, and Brain Castleberry, Regional Manager for the Middle East for the Maryland Department of Commerce who spoke about the Maryland Soft Landing Program which provides international companies with the opportunity to test out the U.S. market at an affordable rate. The Soft-Landing Program includes access to facilities, business matchmaking, and assistance with registering the foreign entity and navigating state regulations. Deputy Secretary Pringle also spoke about the current opportunities in the state of Maryland, which included several upcoming industries and investment opportunities available to foreign entities. To finalize her remarks, Deputy Secretary Pringle spoke about the ease of doing business in Maryland and encouraged foreign entities to test the market through their Soft-Landing Program.
Lynare Robbins, Executive Director of the Global Chamber – Miami introduced Carlos Guerra, Director of International Investment at Enterprise Florida who spoke about major opportunities in the state of Florida, as well as booming industries. Guerra explained that Enterprise Florida’s mission is to expand and diversify Florida’s economy though job creation, particularly in innovative, high growth sectors. The State of Florida has the 3rd largest workforce in the US, and its economy is placed as number #17 around the world due to its high GDP. Florida is a high growth economy which is not entirely dependent in tourism, but it has diversified by focusing on different industries such as technology development. Florida’s infrastructure has allowed it to become the economic trade hub that it is, and it consistently ranks among the top 5 US States for investment by foreign entities due to its location and connectivity with several regions. To end his presentation, Guerra spoke about the different incentives and export grants that are available to foreign entities when entering Florida as a business including: export marketing plans, website localization, trade show grants, gold key matchmaker grants, and trade missions.
To finalize the webinar, Bruhnke spoke about the opportunities in the state of California. Bruhnke mentioned Los Angeles is a place for investment, its diversity and cosmopolitan make it a very attractive place for foreign investment. California itself has the 5th largest economy in the world, Loa Angeles is the fastest growing city according to Bloomberg, over 60% of people form LA speak another language other than English which allows for foreign entities establishing in Los Angeles to feel more welcomed. There are 2 main ports the port of LA and the port of long beach, it has the greatest number of museums in the USA, and the LAX airport is the number 3 airport in the world in terms of traffic. There is plenty of business activity happening in California, as the migration of people have allowed it to bring in more innovation, specially for technology companies.
For information about AmCham Kuwait and entering the Kuwait market: www.amchamkuwait.org
For information on SelectUSA: https://www.trade.gov/selectusa-home
For information on partnering with KDIPA and their services: https://kdipa.gov.kw/
For information on Maryland’s Soft-landing Program: https://commerce.maryland.gov/softlanding
For information on Florida Enterprise & Investing in Florida: www.enterpriseflorida.com/international/
For information on California and Investing in California: https://www.globalchamber.org/landing/los-angeles/