(MENAFN - Arab Times) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth has praised the "enduring ties" between the UK and Kuwait following the recent high profile visit to the UK by the Amir of the State of Kuwait, His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. This marked the first state visit to the UK from Kuwait in 17 years.
Speaking at a State Banquet held in his honour at Windsor Castle last week, The Queen referred to The State of Kuwait and the United Kingdom as "old friends" who have "shared a long and close history." These sentiments have been echoed by the Chairman of Gatehouse Bank, Fahed Boodai, who also attended the State Banquet and reflects The Queen's confidence that the commercial links between the two nations will continue to prosper.
"The economic relationship between the State of Kuwait and the UK goes back over 200 years, and this gives us a unique trading heritage on which to build," Mr Boodai said. "At Gatehouse Bank we have directly seen the many benefits of a close working relationship between our two states, and this level of business co-operation is essential for both the State of Kuwait and the UK if we are to exploit the many opportunities represented by the continuance and strengthening of our valuable trade and economic ties."
With this objective in mind, as part of the official programme of State events Gatehouse Bank sponsored a business lunch in partnership with UK Trade & Investment, entitled "UK-Kuwait: Doing Business Together". The keynote speech was given by Dr Nayef Falah Al Hajraf, Kuwait Minster of Finance and Acting Minister of Education and Higher Education, and included a panel discussion between a number of Kuwait ministers and UK companies who are already successfully doing business in Kuwait.
Also part of the delegation was Anas Al-Saleh, Minister of Commerce and Industry, who during his visit underlined the importance of agreements and deals clinched by both UK and Kuwait in security, defensive, diplomatic and trade areas, welcoming British businesses' involvement in Kuwait's development drive.
The UK Government's target is to double bilateral trade between the UK and Kuwait to 4 billion by 2015, up from 2 billion in 2011. Kuwait is already one of the largest single investors in the UK in terms of liquidity, investment portfolios and property both by Government institutions, private sector organisations and private individuals. In terms of official funds, approximately 100 billion is invested through the City of London, of which 20 billion is invested in London through portfolios and property ownership. For UK companies looking to invest in Kuwait, key opportunities exist in infrastructure such as airport, port and metro development, as well as healthcare facilities, with a total accessible value of 2.35 billion.
Much of the success of the UK-Kuwait trading relationship to date has been driven and supported by the Kuwait Investment Office (KIO), the official branch of the Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA) in London. With 2013 heralding the upcoming 60th anniversary of the KIO, Gatehouse Bank has taken this unique opportunity to congratulate the organisation on the major impact it has had over the years.
Commenting on this momentous, Mr Boodai, added: "The anniversary marking 60 years in the UK is a real landmark date for the KIO, and I wish them many congratulations and best wishes for their exemplary performance and track record in managing funds and investments on behalf of the State of Kuwait. The City of London is not only one of the world's premier financial markets and a strong home for international investment, but is also a major hub for the Islamic Finance industry. The fact that the KIO has such a well-established presence in the UK is a testament to the strength of our reciprocal relationship. The continuing development and advancement of international trade relations between our two nations is an integral part of the ongoing success of the KIO, and I am delighted to wish the organisation every continued success for the future."
Since its inception in 2008 Gatehouse Bank has established a global portfolio in excess of 1.25 billion (2 billion) spread across Real Estate assets, capital investment, and term deposits. Supported by its Kuwaiti shareholders and working in close partnership with Global Securities House (GSH), its sister company in Kuwait, the bank specialises in the long-term management and preservation of wealth for its high net worth and institutional investor clients. With its client focus in the GCC and covering markets in the UK as well as Asia via Malaysia, the bank operates as a natural bridge between the world's key financial markets.