Monsters and Critics - 7/5/2006
Kuwait City - Germany's Minister of Economics and Technology Michael Glos said Saturday that he hoped to strengthen economic ties with Kuwait, pointing to energy as an industry where further cooperation was possible.
Glos arrived in Kuwait Friday at the head of a high-level industrial delegation on the first stop of a three-day regional visit that will also take him to the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
He held talks Saturday with Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser al-Sabah, and Minister of Commerce and Industry Yousef al-Zalzalah on improving economic and business ties between the two countries.
Speaking Saturday to a business forum at Kuwait's Chamber of Commerce, Glos said Germany welcomed the liberalization of market policies in the emirate, especially a foreign investment law approved by parliament three years ago.
Noting Kuwait's recent discovery of large deposits of natural gas in its northern fields, Glos said Germany, a world leader in planning building refineries, were particularly keen on getting involved in energy projects.
The 80-member German delegation travelling with Glos included top German industrialists Hartmut Mehdorn, head of the German railway company Deutsche Bahn AG and Matthias Mitscherlich, chief of construction group MAN Ferrostaal.
'Kuwait is not looking for money, there is enough money in the county, but it's a question of ideas, of partnerships, and long-term friendship,' MAN's Mitscherlich told the forum, adding that Kuwaitis 'rely heavily on personal relationships' when doing business.
During Glos's visit, Germany's Ava Econ Industries signed a contract with Kuwait's privately-owned National Petroleum Services Company to supply and install a hydrocarbon waste-treatment plant in a deal valued at over three million euros (3.8 million dollars).
Kuwait is Germany's fourth-largest trading partner in the Arab world after the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt.
Kuwait imported an estimated 1.2 billion euros (1.5 billion dollars) worth of goods from Germany last year while Germany imported some 23 million euros worth of commodities from the emirate.
The German economy minister was expected to travel to UAE later on Saturday to hold talks in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.