Kuwaiti Finance Minister Mustafa Al-Shimali left Beijing on Tuesday to return home after concluding his successful official visit. Seeing off Al-Shimali at the airport were Kuwaiti Ambassador to China Mohammad Al-Thuwaikh and other Kuwaiti diplomats, as well as Kuwait Investment Beijing Representative Office (KIRO) Chief Representative Fahad Al-Shatti.
Prior to his departure, the minister told Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) that his visit was very practical and productive, showing expectations of pushing bilateral ties to a higher level.
In a reflection of Kuwait's keen interest in the rapid growing Chinese investment market, Al-Shimali, who doubles Kuwait Investment Authorities (KIA) Chairman, inaugurated on Monday KIA's Beijing representative office known as KIRO, which he described as "very successful launch." Located in the heart of business district in the Chinese capital and directed by Al-Shatti, KIRO serves as KIA's on-the-ground presence in China to explore opportunities for the KIA head office to review. It is the fund's first-ever overseas office since the establishment of the Kuwait Investment Office in London in 1953.
KIA, an investment arm of the Kuwaiti government, has a well-diversified investment portfolio with stakes in a wide range of companies and institutions around the globe.
While in Beijing, Al-Shimali held a series of talks with Chinese officials, including Finance Minister Xie Xuren and Deputy Governor of the People's Bank of China and administrator of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange Yi Gang, in which they exchanged views on their countries' fiscal policies and other economic issues, and pledged closer and all-round bilateral cooperation.
The Chinese financial leaders welcomed the establishment of KIRO and assured their continued support and cooperation for further strengthening the fund's ties with China and facilitating potential investment opportunities.
Al-Shimali also called on Chinese businesses to participate in Kuwait's KD 37 billion (USD 134 billion) five-year development plan through 2014 for various mega projects. "We discussed potential of several joint projects between the two countries, and I hope we can realize such joint projects in the near future. I also encouraged the Chinese companies to visit our country to explore investment opportunities," he said.
The two sides also shed light on the smooth growth of Sino-Kuwaiti relations ever since they first forged diplomatic ties 40 years ago, saying that Kuwait and China have witnessed a sustainable and growing cooperation in various areas, and expressed confidence in the prospect of all-round cooperation in the future.
Kuwait was the first Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nation to extend diplomatic ties with China in 1971 in appreciation for China's leading regional and world role.