By Sherouq Sadeqi

Washington, Oct 19 (KUNA) -- The US-Kuwait Business Council (USKBC) was officially launched at the US Chamber of Commerce with "exclusively" focusing on promoting the commercial relationship between the two countries and to serve as a "permanent home" for both business communities to "deepen and grow trade and investment ties." The new Council will work with both private and government sectors "to set priorities and share best practices to advance both countries' economic competitiveness in a growing global marketplace," the US Chamber of Commerce said.
In a speech at the Friday event on behalf of Kuwait's Finance Minister, Kuwait's Ambassador to the US Sheikh Salem Al-Sabah affirmed that this Council "formalizes an already strong and long-standing relationship between the private sectors of our two countries. A relationship that stretches back to more than 70 years, "A relationship that extends across a range of sectors." He presented an update on latest reforms taking place in Kuwait, noting that "Kuwait is currently on a path of reform, with the objective of gradually transforming our economy," a path known as the "New Kuwait." Ambassador Sheikh Salem indicated that since its unveiling in 2017, the Kuwait National Development Plan (KNDP) dubbed "New Kuwait" "is proving to be an effective roadmap that will transform our economy, create jobs, attract foreign direct investments and facilitate knowledge transfer." He affirmed that these reforms have "contributed to Kuwait being shortlisted for the first time, this year, among the Top-20 economies improving the most on the ease of doing business by the World Bank." "The unbreakable bond between our two countries was earned by both sides over decades of hard work. "A bond built on shared interests, business interests, social interests, diplomatic interests and political interests," Sheikh Salem remarked.
He reiterated that "it is a bond that is also based on flows of trade and commerce and the exchange of ideas. "Today this bond has grown and evolved to include an exchange of business opportunities between our two countries." For his part, US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said in a speech "today we celebrate the fruit of collective efforts that fortify our commercial bond." He added that the new Council "will provide our governments with the recommendations we need in order to improve the economic relationship even further," where companies from both countries will work to flourish each other's market.
He stressed that Kuwait's "ambitious" New Kuwait Vision 2035 "should provide" opportunities in Kuwait for American companies in various sectors, saying the "success" of American firms in foreign markets often depends on "the success of our government to government interaction." He shed light also on Kuwait being ranked 97 in the 2019 World Bank Ease of Doing Business.
"The Council will be a key source of advice that would help promote opportunities for American companies in Kuwait so we look forward to working with you," Ross remarked. "The US and Kuwait have a long rich heritage together." For his part, Executive Vice President and Head of International Affairs at the US Chamber of Commerce Myron Brilliant said in a statement that "the US and Kuwait have maintained strong diplomatic ties for many years, and the Chamber is excited to build upon this solid foundation and enhance the commercial engagement of this partnership." "We appreciate the support we have received from many stakeholders in both countries to establish this council, and we look forward to growing this program," he added.
Meanwhile, in remarks to KUNA, Sheikh Salem affirmed that the economic relation between the two countries is a historic one that goes back 70 years.
He added that the launch of the Council "is a natural progress of that relation and this Council will enable the American and Kuwaiti companies to interact and have a shared platform to further boost the trade relations between two countries." "This is an important day for the Kuwait and US trade relations as this Council will be an effective mechanism promoting the bilateral relations in all domains," he affirmed.
He stressed that "it took a lot of time and effort to establish this Council and we are happy that this day has come." Furthermore, vice president of Middle East Affairs at the US Chamber of Commerce Steve Lutes told KUNA "we are delighted to launch the Council as it is a new platform focused on growing the bilateral economic relationship between the two countries." "We are delighted to have the Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross attend and we are focused on growing and deepening the economic bilateral relationship between the US and Kuwait," he affirmed.
He added that "a platform like this is a permanent commitment to growing the economic relationship and it brings together the government with the private sector so it provides a huge opportunity for discussion." The US-Kuwait Business Council is comprised of U.S. and Kuwaiti companies, representing a broad cross-section of industries and sectors. (end) si.rk