Executive Summary

Kuwait is a country with an area of 17,818 sq km situated at the northern end of the Arabian Gulf and is situated between the Gulf Cooperation Council countries (Oman, Saudi Arabia, the U.A.E, Qatar, and Bahrain) and the State of Iraq. The Kuwait economy is dominated by petroleum, which accounts for over 90 percent of its export earnings and over 80 percent of its budget revenues. Given its single natural resource, Kuwait manufacturing is dominated by oil refining and downstream petrochemical processing. The non-oil manufacturing and agriculture sectors are statistically less significant given Kuwait’s oil and oil reserves position. The majority of non-oil manufacturing companies are engaged in food processing and packaging and light industry including the manufacturing of building materials and residential furniture.

The Kuwait economy grew significantly in 2006 due to increased market prices for Kuwait Export Crude. National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) GDP estimates appear to be USD 80 billion for the year. Kuwait’s primary export is oil, however it imports almost all capital equipment, agricultural commodities, processed foods, manufacturing equipment and consumer goods.

Market Challenges
The State of Kuwait is a challenging market requiring adaptability and persistence. Many exporters and investors face many of the same challenges that exist in other Gulf Cooperation Council countries. Kuwait is strategically located at the northern end of the Arabian Gulf, and given the ambitious major civil and infrastructure construction work being proposed over the next decade.

Market Opportunities
The State of Kuwait is undergoing significant expansion in the building and construction industry. The Government of Kuwait is currently involved in an ambitious building program that includes the construction of three new urban centers, major highways, a new container terminal and transportation support infrastructure. Private construction and project development, like in other GCC urban centers, is also moving forward.

 With the traditional export sector of automotive, oil and gas, computers/ITC, telecommunications equipment and construction equipment remaining strong and given the new pace of urbanization and construction occurring in Kuwait, export opportunities should increase in the near to midterm.