KUWAIT: In a presentation during a symposium yesterday at the at the Kuwait Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), Senior Commercial Counselor at the US Department of Commerce Jeff Hamilton revealed that more than half of Kuwait’s sovereign wealth funds are invested in the United States. Recently, the Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA) disclosed that over $300 billion of its funds is invested in the US.

“Many of its investments are in real estate. This was during the time when US real estate was on the downside. But Kuwait and China took advantage and purchased several commercial properties in the US. Earlier in the year, a number of Kuwaitis purchased several hotels in the Midwest along with townhouses. They also recently opened a manufacturing company in Texas. Kuwaitis have also taken advantage of the very easy way to franchise companies from the US. If you have a decent amount of funds, you can easily become a franchisee of a US company. Kuwaitis also trust many food products from the US,” Hamilton added.

As part of ‘Discover America Week’, the US Embassy in Kuwait hosted the symposium attended mostly by local businessmen. The seminar, titled ‘Starting a Business in the US’, saw three main speakers – Hamilton, the Partner and Head of Kuwait Office of Al-Tamimi and Company, and Khaled Fouad, Chief Investment Officer at KAMCO.

“The US is a large and diverse country. Each state has its own unique characteristics. It’s important to understand that when you are considering investment in the US, you are not just investing in the country, but you are also selecting the best state to invest in. Why US? Because we have a strong economy, we are number one in many sectors, we have many customers and people, and certainly you need purchasing power to do business in the US. This is a very predictable business environment. Our business environment is very stable, very transparent and fair,” Hamilton said.

He said the US is the world leader in research and innovation and there is no shortage of educated individuals to work and supply the market. Hamilton also spoke about the embassy’s ‘Discover America Week’, where he outlined various activities in store for participants. He also mentioned the discounts offered by various US-based franchisee restaurants. ‘Magnificent 7’ will be shown at the Galleria Theater today. Food products from the US are on special offer during the 11-day event, which kicked off on Sunday.

By Ben Garcia