Visiting ranking and eminent Kuwaiti figures have expressed aspiration to elevate level of business cooperation with Japan to partnership status noting necessity of such an aspired approach in shadow of national development strategy aimed at launching more than 1,000 ventures in the 2012 fiscal year.
In an interview with Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) and Kuwait TV after concluding the annual meeting of the Kuwaiti-Japanese Businessmen's Committee, Co-Chairman Khaled Al-Sager showed satisfaction on the results of the gathering, saying that both sides were keen to explore opportunities for new joint projects in Kuwait and abroad.
Al-Sager, who also serves as Kuwait Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) Deputy Chairman, said the Japanese companies took more active stance than past years toward enhanced and broadened business relations with their Kuwaiti counterparts.
"Since the inception of our committee 15 years, bilateral trade value between Kuwait and Japan has redoubled four times and reached USD 13.44 billion in 2010. In addition, Japan receives 20 percent of Kuwaiti oil exports. But despite their importance, all these achievements do not fully express the ambitions of the two countries," Al-Sager said.
He voiced hope that economic cooperation between the two countries will reach the "partnership level" in executing Kuwait's development plan with its cities, roads, ports, institutes, universities, and developing the national human resources, "which is considered very promising partnership politically, socially, and economically for both countries." According to Dr. Adel Al-Wugayan, Secretary General at Supreme Council for Planning and Development, the Kuwaiti government plans to implement 1,370 projects in the fiscal 2012 alone as an annual program based on the five-year development plan.
The Kuwaiti Embassy in Tokyo hosted a dinner on Thursday evening in honor of the visiting delegation for the 16th Kuwaiti-Japanese Businessmen's Committee and its related seminar which were just wrapped up here.
The 30-member high-level delegation included officials from Supreme Council for Planning and Development, Partnerships Technical Bureau, Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research, Kuwait Metro Rapid Transportation Co., Kuwait Foreign Investment Bureau and other government sectors, as well as executives of leading companies.
A total of some 280 people from both countries attended the two-day event consisting of a meeting and a seminar on investment opportunities in Kuwait. Wednesday's committee meeting was also attended by former Minister of State for Planning and Development Affairs Abdulwahab Al-Haroun. Meanwhile, Japan's Co-Chairman Hiroshi Saito said separately that the symposium was held in response to requests from the Kuwaiti side, that believes the current Japanese investment in the country does not reflect real economic relations and should be increased.
Saito also said the event was concluded with great success and vigorous exchange of views among the participants from the both sides.
"This year's committee had different meaning from previous ones, because it came after Kuwait showed us unstinted support and a deep-rooted friendship in the wake of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, which prompted us to renew our determination in further developing relations with our Kuwaiti partners through activities of the committee," Saito said. The committee meeting and the seminar were organized by the Japanese Cooperation Center for the Middle East (JCCME). Established in 1973 under the sponsorship of the Japanese government, the JCCME has been promoting Japan's investment and transfer of technology to the Middle East. It also has a Japan Desk in Kuwait, which plays a bridging role between private companies of Kuwait and Japan to help them establish joint ventures.