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Singapore, Kuwait discussing Investment Chapter as part of FTA

Channel NewsAsia

Singapore, Kuwait discussing Investment Chapter as part of FTA

By S Ramesh, Channel NewsAsia

12 April 2005

Singapore and Kuwait are discussing an Investment Chapter as part of the free trade agreement that’s currently being negotiated between the two countries.

Singapore’s Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong said the aim is to protect Kuwaiti investments in Singapore and those invested by Singapore in Kuwait.

Speaking in an interview on Kuwait TV, Mr Goh said Singapore and Kuwait have very good relations and his visit there is to strengthen ties at the political, economic, social and cultural levels.

He also described the FTA proposal as a symbol of interest in each other’s countries and hoped its early conclusion would lead to more trade and investment.

He noted that at the moment, Singapore buys oil from Kuwait but does not sell very much to Kuwait in return.

He added that by increasing ties, both countries can trade more.

More importantly, Singapore hopes to help Kuwait in its economic development.

Singaporeans would be encouraged to invest in Kuwait and help with infrastructure development.

Singapore also hopes Kuwaiti investment companies would set up office in the republic.

Mr Goh spent the second day of his visit to Kuwait, holding more bilateral meetings, among them with the Kuwaiti Prime Minister and leaders of finance houses and top bankers.

On his series of visits to the Middle Eastern countries, Mr Goh said, with both the Middle East and Asia undergoing changes, it’s hoped both regions can find positive areas of cooperation.

And one event that will help further strengthen Asia-Middle East ties is the forthcoming Asia-Middle East dialogue to be held in Singapore in June.

Singapore is inviting eminent people to take part and hopes the dialogue will see a good exchange of views on many issues.

Nearly fifty countries have been invited to take part in the inaugural dialogue, which had been proposed by Mr Goh.

During his meeting with the Kuwaiti Premier, both leaders discussed furthering cooperation in areas like port development, e-commerce and healthcare.

Mr Goh’s press secretary said the Kuwaiti leader hoped that the forthcoming Asia-Middle East dialogue in Singapore would give the participating countries a better perspective of the opportunities in the Middle East.

Mr Goh and the Singapore delegation were also given an update on the political and security situation in the Middle East, during their meetings with the Kuwaiti Foreign Minister.

Senior Minister Goh leaves Kuwait on Tuesday night and returns to Singapore on Wednesday. - CNA