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Canada, Kuwait Sign Economic Pact

Opportunity is expected to knock for Canadian agrifood exporters through a new agreement on economic co-operation between Canada and Kuwait.

International Trade Minister Stockwell Day and Kuwait’s Commerce and Industry Minister Ahmad Rashed Al-Haroun signed the agreement Nov. 4 in Ottawa.

“Kuwait offers many opportunities for Canadian companies in the oil and gas sector, engineering and architectural services, agri-food and education,” Day said in a government release.

Canada, by signing the agreement, “is opening doors for Canadian business by establishing a framework by which both sides can work to increase trade and investment,” he said.

The agreement is meant to “enhance economic relations” in trade and investment; to help pave the way for liberalizing trade and investment while respecting each country’s laws and international obligations; to facilitate “increased involvement” of the private sector in trade and investment co-operation; and to encourage private-sector investment.

Kuwait has one of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds, with assets estimated at $200 billion, the government said. Canada’s two-way merchandise trade with Kuwait in 2008 was valued at $195 million, almost a 70 per cent increase over the previous year.

Kuwait is also a member of the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC), a group of six nations that Canada considers a “priority market” of the most prosperous countries in the Middle East. Two-way merchandise trade between Canada and GCC nations was worth $5.6 billion in 2008, up 37 per cent from 2007.

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