Foreword to the 2nd edition (2004)
I am delighted to have been asked to write the foreword for the new edition of Doing Business with Kuwait. I am sure that this version will continue the tradition of the title as a useful and important reference work for those with serious business intentions for the market.
At time of writing, March 2004, Kuwait is experiencing a business boom. Several factors are contributing to this. The ousting of the old regime in Iraq in 2003 stimulated confidence not experienced by the Kuwaiti business community for many years. There is greater assurance on the part of Kuwaiti companies that investments can be made and held here rather than overseas. As an entry point for the Iraqi market, Kuwait is hosting a tremendous number of new overseas business visitors. Many of these have taken a new look at the real business opportunities that exist in Kuwait and applied themselves to business here.
There are a great number of development projects on the table, some that were previously on hold. A recently compiled list of projects for the oil and gas sector alone showed that Kuwait’s requirements over the next 10 years or so would be of the order of USD 17 billion. There is no reason why these favourable conditions for involvement by our companies should not last well into the future.
Kuwait and Britain enjoy a long-standing and warm association. This applies in many fields, not least our commercial relationship, where UK firms and their products carry a strong reputation for quality and reliability. Kuwait is the United Kingdom’s third largest market in the Gulf after Saudi Arabia and the UAE, and two-way trade is in good balance. Britain’s direct exports to Kuwait are increasing and 2003 saw this rise to a value just falling short of GBP 400 million. Our trade in services is substantial and important.
Perhaps the most often heard plea from companies in Kuwait is for greater engagement by British firms. There is certainly scope for this in what is a challenging market but one that, ultimately, can be highly rewarding for those businesses that take the right approach. That must include many firms that have used the authoritative information and advice contained in this publication to good effect. I am sure that new readers will find Doing Business with Kuwait equally indispensable.
Christopher Wilton CMG
HM Ambassador Kuwait