Muscat: The Kuwait Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) in cooperation with the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OCCI) organised the Omani-Kuwaiti Forum to discuss investment opportunities in both countries.
The meeting was attended by the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Oman and Kuwait, members of the Board of Directors and representatives of government institutions and companies.
"Nearly 96 per cent of total Omani exports to Kuwait are Omani origin products," Qais Al Yousef, Chairman of Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OCCI), said.
"More than 500 Kuwaiti companies are operating in the Sultanate in several fields including retail, energy, contracting, construction, tourism and other fields," said Ali Al Ghanim, Chairman of KCCI.
"The indicators show a growth of trade between the Sultanate and Kuwait in the last few years and we are proud of the fact that most Omani exports to the sister country of Kuwait are mostly Omani products of some 96 per cent of the total exports," Al Yousef said.
"In terms of joint investments, Oman-Kuwait joint investments registered in Oman amounted to OMR210 million until the end of 2016. These investments are distributed in 557 companies, most of which are concentrated in the sectors of trade, construction and other sectors. These numbers and indicators will rise if we add the new Kuwaiti investments in Duqm," he added.
In 2017, the trade exchange between Oman and Kuwait reached US$426 million.
Al Ghanim said in his speech: "The joint investment and commercial cooperation is a fundamental pillar and a great indicator to measure the strength of the economic relations between the two countries. More than 500 Kuwaiti companies operate in the Sultanate in several fields including retail, energy, contracting, construction, tourism and other fields."
"The Kuwaiti business sector is following with admiration and pride the stages of the development of the Omani economy and its success in establishing a strong economic structure through optimising the strategic position of the Sultanate, building huge infrastructure development projects, and building economic zones will certainly be a turning point for the Omani economy," he added.
Al Yousuf said that the Omani private sector is looking forward to developing trade and investment relations with its brothers in Kuwait, especially in the priority sectors, which the Sultanate is focusing on in its plan to diversify sources of income, including logistics, manufacturing, food security, mining and tourism.
He explained: "The five sectors mentioned above are receiving wide attention by the Omani government through the ninth five-year plan for the Sultanate from 2016-2020, which is supervised by the national programme to promote economic diversification, 'Tanfeedh'. This is in addition to some other sectors in order to enhance the added value of the Gulf by encouraging national industries among our countries and giving them preference in tenders to give them the opportunity to enter the local markets," he added.
"Oman is the first Gulf country to implement the International Classification of Enterprises, and has played a major role in transferring the experience to Kuwait, such as systems and software," said Adawiya Mohammed Al Failakawi, Director of the Kuwait Business Centre.
This came during a presentation on the services of the Kuwait Business Centre of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MoCI) and its role in facilitating the procedures of issuing commercial licences to business owners in Kuwait through the one window system.
The Assistant Director General for Business Development, Direct Investment Promotion Authority, gave a presentation about the investment climate in Kuwait and some of the advantages and incentives offered by Kuwait to the foreign investor.
The representative of the Public-Private Partnership Projects Authority gave a presentation on the Authority and the most important projects in Kuwait for partnership with the private sector.
The Secretary-General of the Abdul Aziz Hamad Al Saqr Centre for Development also provided an overview of the centre and the services it provides to the Kuwaiti and Gulf business communities alike.
On the Omani side, the General Authority for Investment Promotion and Export Development (Ithraa), the Special Economic Zone Authority of Duqm (Sezad), the Public Establishment of Industrial Estates (PEIE) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries presented a definition of the investment fields in the Sultanate and the most important existing projects.
Small and medium business owners also participated in the forum by presenting their products.
Muna Al Shikairy, the owner of "Al Joory" Omani handmade products, said: "At the forum, we met a number of Kuwaiti businessmen who knew about my products. I hope to get an investor from Kuwait and a number of people told me they would contact me for an agreement."
Two commercial agreements were signed on the sidelines of the forum between Omani companies and their counterparts from the Kuwaiti companies participating in the forum.
"We have signed a partnership agreement with Epsco Global to establish a plant for the production of renewable energy from organic ethanol, which is one of the green energy industries that is used for the production of fuel and has a number of medical uses," Zaman Hussain, CEO of Capital for construction and commercial projects company, said.
Al Yousef said: "Through these visits, OCCI seeks to promote Omani products and focus on the export side because it is important in serving the local product and trade balance. It serves the economic diversification and helps in developing innovation and competitiveness."
"Our visit to Kuwait came across some investment opportunities. After that, we will visit Qatar to participate in an international exhibition for companies in which the Sultanate participates in 70 different companies. Then we will participate in the Opex exhibition for Omani products in Kenya and we will move to a number of other countries in a series of exhibitions to showcase Omani companies and their quality and universality," Al Yousef added.
Abdulaziz Buanin, CEO of Update Development Company from Al Kuwait, said: "The meeting came at the right time; Oman is rich in its generosity and it will open investments for the Gulf and foreigners and we are leaning towards investing in Oman in the medical field."
"The meetings were very useful and we discussed many ideas during our meetings with the Omani side, and we want to invest in Oman in the field of domestic tourism and we plan to cooperate with training centres in Muscat and the North Al Sharqiyah governorate," Reem Al Jaberr, CEO of Aryam International Group, said.