The Kuwait Direct Investment Promotion Authority (KDIPA) has approved the first 100 per cent foreign-owned project under the new direct investment promotion law.

The owner may now benefit from tax breaks and customs exemptions on the project, which is in the services sector.

A second project under the new foreign investment law is also under study.

The 2013 law reformed foreign investment laws in Kuwait, allowing 100 per cent foreign ownership in most sectors of the economy and simplified the process.

However, the executive regulations needed to apply the law were delayed by a year.

The quick approval suggests that KDIPA’s efforts to streamline investment processes have paid off. Over 150 companies have contacted the new body to enquire about potential investments since it opened for business on 29 December 2014.

The list of sectors excluded from 100 per cent foreign ownership is yet to be debated by the Council of Ministers. It is expected to be short, and include upstream oil and gas and defence.

The previous body, Kuwait Foreign Investment Bureau (KFIB), approved 14 projects between 2006 and 2010 worth nearly KD6bn ($20.3bn). The three services sector projects, in banking, were worth KD45m.

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