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KUWAIT CITY, Oct 1: The Spanish Ambassador to Kuwait, HE Miguel Aguilar said the diplomatic relations with Kuwait are excellent and historical, but have yet to reach the desired level in terms of economic ties, says a press release issued by the embassy. The Spanish envoy said this when he was speaking to a large number of businessmen and representatives of foreign companies. He called his country’s diplomatic ties with Kuwait exceptional and historical, but have yet to reach to their full potential in the economic field Ambassador Aguilar went on to say: “We have to be serious in developing these relations in all fields, especially the economic, to raise the level of political and diplomatic relations between our two countries; we can do better, and we are striving to do just that.”
He spoke of the two vital events which reflect positively on the economic relations, one, the announcement of direct flights to Madrid from Kuwait by the Kuwait Airways after a hiatus of almost 40 years, and two, Spain entering the healthcare sector of Kuwait after a Spanish company signed a cooperation agreement with the Ministry of Health and the Dhaman Hospitals Company to provide health services in the area of health insurance.
For his part, Yahya Al-Shaibani, head of the Spanish Business Council in Kuwait, said the Spanish contribution is part of projects in the Kuwait Vision 2035, and that Spanish companies have a vision to make great contributions in this area, and “our role as a business council is to show that Spain has an important role to play in Kuwait Vision 2035.” The Spanish Business Council in Kuwait, Al-Shaibani explained, aims to “provide a platform for Spanish companies to exchange experiences and information with Kuwaiti companies and businessmen wishing to invest in Spain, to help them, guide them and share our experiences with them.”
To promote this objective, he said, the council has set up five-member team with each member representing one of the five different Spanish sectors and help boost relations between these sectors and their counterparts in Kuwait.
“This is in addition to helping increase trade exchanges between the two countries, and our role will always be supportive of the role of the embassy and the commercial office in the embassy,” he said. The commercial attaché at the Spanish embassy, Miguel Paesteros Lopez, said the Spanish-Kuwaiti trade relations have been characterized in the past five years by a favorable trade balance for Spain, and Spanish exports have diversified, compared to imports concentrated in oil, plastics, chemical products and clothing. He added the economic and trade relations intensified in recent years, due to several factors, including continuous increase in Spanish exports.
The commercial attaché provided the latest figures of Spanish exports and Kuwaiti imports. The data showed that total Spanish exports to Kuwait of 149 million euros in 2009 jumped to 367 million euros in 2019,and 397 million euros in 2021, which marked a 26 percent hike in exports to Kuwait relative to 2020. Meanwhile, imports from Kuwait to Spain in 2021 were anemic and dropped by 2 percent compared to 2020 to reach a total 54 million euros. Exports stabilized at 184 million euros in the first half of 2022, which marked a 24 percent jump in Kuwaiti imports, of 44 million euros, relative to the same period in 2021. In the mutual investments sector, Spanish companies were awarded projects in Kuwait with a total value of 430 million euros, and in recent years there has been an increased influx of Kuwaiti investors into Spain. On the other hand, Spanish direct investments in Kuwait amounted to 64 million euros at the end of 2020.
Also, the balance of Spanish investment in Kuwait amounted to 64 million euros, as of 31 December, 2020, while the Kuwaiti investment stock in Spain on the last day of 2020 amounted to 436 million euros (ranking 44th), while it amounted to 897 million euros on 31 December, 2021. In the energy and telecommunications sectors, the contribution of several Spanish companies was notable, including in the construction of Al-Zour Refinery; in the solar energy project in Shaqaya; and in the Air Navigation Management System for Civil Aviation and Communications System in Kuwait, as well as in preparing the new control Tower for Kuwait Airport.