Ambassador’s Remarks to the American Business Council of Kuwait Annual Gala Dinner

October 27, 2015

Madame Minister Hind Al-Sabeeh,

ABCK Chairman Scott Beverly,

Mr. and Mrs. Delano Roosevelt,

ABC-K members,

Distinguished guests.
Catherine and I are honored to be here with the ABC-K this evening.  First, I want to Congratulate you on the ABCK’s 30th anniversary. Let’s put that in perspective.  In 1985, the year ABCK was founded, Shaikh Jaber al-Ahmed al-Sabah was Amir of Kuwait.  Ronald Reagan was President of the United States.  And Michael Gorbachev was leader of the Soviet Union.  How many of you remember the Soviet Union?  Coca Cola changed its formula and started selling New Coke.  Microsoft released Windows 1.0.  Yes, 1.0. Wham! and Madonna had the best selling records.  (And back then they were records.)  And Taylor Swift wasn’t even born yet.  The ABC-K has been around longer than Snapchat Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, actually, longer than the entire internet.

It has been around longer than the iPad, all six numbers and several letters of the iPhone, the iPod, and the laptop computer.  Many products and personalities have come and gone.

But ABCK has stuck around and is still going strong.

Your long-term success in this community is a testament to the important work you have done to promote U.S.-Kuwait business relations over the past three decades.  I am confident you will continue to do so for many decades to come.

At the Embassy, it is great to have the ABCK as one of our longest and most important partners.

Now, the timing of tonight’s anniversary gala event could not be better.  We are right in the middle of Discover America Week.

During this week we have organized numerous events highlighting American culture, education, business, music, film, automobiles, fashion, food, and restaurants.

Our slogan this year is: Discover America: Quality. Reliability. Together.

I chose this slogan because it not only describes American products and services, but also the enduring relationship between the United States and Kuwait.

Another focus of the Embassy this year is commemorating the 25thanniversary of the invasion, occupation, liberation and rebuilding of Kuwait.

As we prepare to mark the 25th anniversary we are reminded that, then as now, Kuwaiti-American trade and investment have been a cornerstone of our strong bilateral partnership.

By memorializing the historic events, before, during and after the liberation, including the important role of the American business community, we reaffirm this friendship, and promote greater awareness of what happened among younger Kuwaitis, most of whom have no personal connection to these events.

Now, while it is important to remember the past, it is also important to look forward.  While there are many excellent opportunities in Kuwait for U.S. companies, the regulatory environment here needs additional work.

There has been progress Such as with the implementation of up to 100 percent foreign owned entities.

But more should be done.

According to the World Bank, Kuwait ranks 86th in the world, and 6th in the GCC, in ease of doing business.  The Embassy is eager to partner with you, the American business community, to develop new strategies, safeguard IPR, tighten cyber security, and advocate for a more favorable business environment.

Once again, I’d like to thank you for inviting Catherine and me to be here with you this evening.

My staff and I welcome your recommendations, and look forward to supporting your business priorities and objectives in Kuwait.

Thank you.