KUWAIT, (Reuters) – Syrian President Bashar al-Assad proposed a joint venture with state-owned Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA), Kuwait’s al-Rai said on Thursday, citing Syria’s leader.
Gulf Arab investors, awash with record oil revenue, are looking overseas for business, including in Syria where the state-dominated economy is opening more to foreign private investment.
The KIA, a $213 billion sovereign wealth fund, could not be immediately reached for comment.
The venture could involve the governments of the two countries and private investors, Assad told Kuwait investors after meeting KIA Managing Director Bader al-Saad during a visit to Kuwait, al-Rai said.
The president will study creating a free-trade zone between Syria and Kuwait, al-Rai said, without giving details.
Syria and Qatar set up a venture with share capital of $500 million to invest in property in Syria, Assad said, according to the paper.
National Bank of Kuwait, the country’s biggest lender, has said it wants to operate in Syria.
The United States imposed economic sanctions on Syria in 2004, later tightening them to include some Syrian investors with ties to the regime.