Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Kuwait investing in Syria: a business opening or business as usual?

A small item in the Lebanese newspaper The Daily Star may be encouraging for free traders in Syria:

KUWAIT CITY: Kuwait's investments in Syria, comprising 19 projects costing $541 million, place the country in third place after Turkey and Saudi Arabia, Damascus' economic attache in Kuwait City said Sunday. Speaking to the Kuwait News Agency (KUNA), Youssef al-Shoum said that these investments were mostly in the industrial sector, as well as in the agriculture and tourism sectors, adding that there were also Kuwaiti investment applications for the banking, tourism, and industrial sectors.

The attache said his country was preparing to issue several laws to encourage foreign investment by offering facilitations and tax exemptions.

Shoum said bilateral trade had increased - after the implementation of the Arab Free Trade Agreement - to $110 million.

He also said that the number of Kuwaiti tourists visiting Syria had increased by some 12 percent in 2005, adding that the operation of Kuwait Airway flights to Damascus and Aleppo had served to boost economic relations between the two countries by facilitating the exchange of visits on the part of businessmen.

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