ISLAMABAD  - Pakistan and Kuwait has decided on Monday to increase the existing level of bilateral trade and discussed various proposals to explore ways to enhance their mutual business relations especially in the fields of agriculture, energy, commerce and trade.

This was the crux of Pak-Kuwait Business Forum held on Monday, which was attended by prominent businessmen of two the countries. Mohammad Zubair Chairman Board of Investment led Pakistani side while Bader Mohammad Al-Saad, Managing Director Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA), led the Kuwaiti side.

Businessmen from both sides discussed various ways and means to further enhance the level of cooperation between the two countries in various areas of mutual cooperation particularly in the areas of trade and investment.

Speaking on the occasion, Mohammad Zubair said, “The trade between Pakistan and Kuwait is around $4 billion, which is not at par with the potential that exists in two countries. Similarly, Kuwaiti Foreign Direct Investment stands at $154.2 million during last five years, which also does not reflect the real potential. Pakistan is keen to take Pak-Kuwait bilateral trade and investment ties to new heights and mutual interaction of businessmen and entrepreneurs of the two countries would help explore new avenues for investment and trade”.

Chairman Board of Investment invited Kuwaiti companies to take advantage of most attractive investment opportunities available in Pakistan in different sectors including oil and gas, mining, trading, energy, information technology and telecom, food and agriculture, Small and Medium Enterprises, and infrastructure.

Referring an Act for establishment of Special Economic Zones, Mohammad Zubair said Kuwaiti investors are invited to seek maximum benefit from this scheme, as under the new law all capital goods, machinery and equipment will get one time exemption from the Customs duties and the entrepreneurs will also be exempted from Income Tax for ten years.

In his remarks, Bader Mohammad Al-Saad, Managing Director, Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA) reiterated the commitment of Kuwait to enhance the share of their investment and trade in Pakistan. He shared with the participants that both Investment promotion Agencies Board of Investment and Kuwait Investment Agency are going to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) today in the field of investment cooperation and the main objective of this MoU is strengthening of joint investment cooperation between the two countries and to create partnerships to promote investment and trade.

Imran Afzal Cheema, Secretary, BoI in his concluding remarks emphasised Kuwait businessmen and investors to explore Pakistan’s enormous economic potential and discover opportunities in various areas particularly in the agriculture and energy sector which is backed by investor friendly policies.

He informed that stock of Kuwait’s FDI abroad is around $56 billion and its annual FDI outside Kuwait is $8 billion while Kuwaiti annual Investment to Pakistan is only around $15 million on the average which does not reflect the huge potential exist in this respect. “Kuwaiti investors to explore Pakistan’s enormous potential and discover opportunities particularly in the energy and agriculture sectors which is backed by investor-friendly policies”, he maintained.

Meanwhile, according to press statement issued by Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry, the FPCC asked Kuwaiti government and the business community to boost economic cooperation with Islamabad to help overcome Pakistan overcome energy crisis and other problems.

Pakistan and Kuwait are natural allies that have always supported each other in difficult times and all the international forums, therefore they should try to forge stronger linkages, said President FPCCI Zubair Ahmed Malik.

Speaking to a high-powered delegation of Kuwaiti investors, he said that Kuwait should support mega energy projects and invest in up-gradation of the existing projects as energy crisis has slowed our economy. 

He said that Kuwait should use Gwadar port as a gateway to central Asian states to enhance its presence and trade in the unexplored region.

Pakistani traders as well as labourers should be given relaxations in visas so that they can work with peace of mind, earn with dignity and help their country, said Zubair Ahmed Malik.

The FPCCI President said that the private sector of both countries should explore commercially feasible joint ventures in oil and gas, agriculture, mines and Halal meat sectors.

Government of Kuwait should boost investment in Pakistan through Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development and Kuwait Investment Authority, he demanded, adding that Kuwaiti private sector should enhance imports from Pakistan to balance the bilateral trade.