Thursday , October 19 2017

Trade ties high on agenda as PM ‘sets off’ for France; French firms eye Kuwait projects

HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al- Sabah is seen off at the airport leaving for France.
HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al- Sabah is seen off at the airport leaving for France.

KUWAIT CITY, Oct 19, (KUNA): His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah and his accompanying delegation left here on Monday for Paris on an official visit to France. His Highness the Prime Minister was seen off at the airport by Deputy Premier and Interior Minister Sheikh Mohammad Al-Khaled Al- Hamad Al-Sabah, several other ministers and senior officials as well as highranking commanders of the army, police and National Guard and the French Charge d’affaires in Kuwait.

His Highness the Premier’s accompanying delegation comprises First Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, Deputy Premier and Defense Minister Sheikh Khaled Al-Jarrah Al-Sabah, Deputy Premier and Finance Minister Anas Al-Saleh and Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Al-Jarallah. The delegation also includes officials of the Kuwait Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI). His Highness the Prime Minister is leading a large official and business delegation with the goal of further boosting economic ties.

During the visit that continues till Oct 22, His Highness the Premier will meet with President Francois Hollande, Prime Minister Manuel Valls, Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, and a host of senior state officials. The delegation accompanying Sheikh Jaber Al- Mubarak includes senior government officials and business leaders. Talks with the French side are most likely to lead to signing agreements for the good of peoples in both countries. According to the French Foreign Ministry, the accords are focused on investment, and opening an office to be affiliated to the French Center for Archaeology and Social Sciences in Kuwait, to support national research projects.

Boosting bilateral relations in politics, health, education and culture will also feature high on the agenda amid a mutual desire to explore fresh prospects for cooperation. His Highness the Premier will address a momentous meeting between French and Kuwaiti businessmen. In the meantime, Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak will meet with Kuwaiti students studying in France on the sidelines of the visit.

Over the past four years, there have been 13 ministerial visits between France and Kuwait, going in both directions, besides a number of high-level contacts covering the parliamentary, financial and military scenes.

Grand French companies have manifested high interest in investing in Kuwait as well as contributing to development projects in the country, especially in infrastructure, power and transport. Kuwait considers France a major partner with commercial exchange reaching around $2.5 billion last year. Kuwaiti exports to France in 2014 hit $750 million, 95 percent of which oil products.

Imports from France reached 500 million euro. Bilateral trade in 2012 and 2013 hit 1.8 billion euro. In January, a French commercial delegation “Business France” was established in Kuwait to encourage French firms and investors to launch business in the country. In Oct 2009, the two countries signed a security cooperation treaty, according to which Paris supplied military equipment to Kuwait. Among the delivered arms were gunboats and gunship helicopters.

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