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US firms seek licenses to operate in Kuwait -- US diplomat

KUWAIT, Oct 22 (KUNA) -- A bevy of American companies will shortly ask to be licensed to operate in Kuwait in the same manner that recently IBM, GE, and the Chinese company Huawei did, senior commercial officer at the US embassy Jeff Hamilton said here on Thursday.
At a press conference kicking off the Discover America Week in Kuwait, running Oct.25-31, Hamilton underscored the growing bilateral relations between the US and Kuwait in numerous fields including the economic, political, cultural, and social ones. He regarded the Discover America Week as a further culmination of these relations.
Running up statistics on bilateral trade, he said US exports to Kuwait had risen by 87 percent since 2010 and right up through last year. The trade exchange came up to USD 15 billion in 2014, with the trade balance tipping in favor of Kuwait, as it exported to the US USD 11 billion whereas US imports from Kuwait amounted to USD 3.5 billion, he said.
Most of Kuwaiti exports were concentrated on crude oil and oil products whereas US exports were of automotive nature including cars and car spare parts, among other things, said Hamilton, noting that lower oil prices might impact adversely the size of bilateral trade.
He underlined the keen interest of US companies in major Kuwaiti development projects, particularly those in the energy sector.
Speaking at the same press conference, Charles Cole, counselor for public affairs at the embassy, affirming bilateral relations, indicated that there are currently about 11,000 Kuwaiti students studying in the US, about 6,000 of whom aspiring for bachelors' degrees and the rest for post-graduate ones.
He said the Discover America Week is an apt gateway for those seeking to learn more about American culture including music, theater, food and other things that the public in Kuwait will have access to in various locations across the country.
This year's Week is the third time it is being organized in Kuwait with the success of the two previous ones tempting US embassy officials to organize similar ones in the UAE, Oman, and Bahrain, said Cole. (end) fnk.ajs