Dutch minister for economic affairs, Henk Kamp, Thursday said his upcoming visit to the State of Kuwait is aimed at deepening the excellent cooperation and relations between the two countries.
He said in an interview with the Kuwait news agency, KUNA, that his 3-day visit to Kuwait starting on Sunday comes at the kind invitation of Ali Al-Omair, Minister of Oil and State Minister for Parliamentary Affairs of the State of Kuwait. "The visit's purpose is mainly to hold consultations on bilateral relations and ways of further deepening the already existing excellent mutual cooperation between the Netherlands and Kuwait," stressed Kamp.
The agenda of his visit also encompasses discussions on energy, trade and mutual investment on a senior level with Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA), Kuwait Oil Company (KOC) and Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC).
"To build on that objective, a trade delegation will accompany me in this visit to meet with new potential business partners. The delegation will consist of about twenty Dutch entrepreneurs and knowledge institutions mainly active in the field of energy and infrastructure projects," he said.
Kamp also expressed his keenness on reaching out to Dutch companies working in Kuwait and plans to attend a Dutch-Kuwaiti network reception for the Oil and Gas sector with leading members of the Dutch Business Circle in Kuwait.
Kamp said that this is his first visit to the State of Kuwait in his capacity as Minister of Economic Affairs, adding that as a Minister of Defense, he visited Kuwait several times in the period 2004-2006 on my way to and from Iraq. "Unfortunately at that time I did not have the opportunity to hold official meetings," he said.
"Kuwait is a very important partner for the Netherlands. The Netherlands and Kuwait have intensive economic relations. Annually, Kuwait exports oil and oil products of more than USD 3 billion to Rotterdam, making the Netherlands the key export destination within the EU for Kuwait," he said.
The Dutch minister pointed out that the European Headquarters of Kuwait Petroleum International is in The Hague. The Netherlands' export to Kuwait is over USD 500 million per year.
Dutch companies provide Kuwait with machines and technology, as well as food products (meat, dairy, fruit and vegetables) and many other things, he said.
"The partnership in the energy sector offers further areas for enhancement and the Dutch companies have world-class competence and expertise in this field," he said.
Noting that Kuwait has many big projects currently being executed, soon to be awarded, or planned in the future, he said Dutch companies are already involved in this.
He citied for instance that Dutch company Van Oord is implementing the first phase of KNPC's new refinery project. Damen Shipyards is constructing 14 tugboats for KOC, engineering firms based in the Netherlands are involved in KNPC's Clean Fuels Project, and Shell will continue to supply a big part of Kuwait's LNG imports.
"I expect Dutch companies to build on these experiences, and I hope my visit gives further impetus to this," he said.
Kamp said that "Kuwait is already a main investor in the Netherlands. The European Headquarters of Q8 is based in The Hague, for example. The Netherlands has a strong economy, which attracts investments from all over the world. I'm sure there are further opportunities for Kuwait and Kuwaiti companies to invest more in the Netherlands," he told KUNA.