The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries have a 5% flat rate tariff on imports. Kuwait’s corporate income taxes for foreign corporations are 15%. To be successful in the Kuwaiti market, U.S. companies should identify, develop, and support a local agent, representative, or account executive to manage the marketing strategy for both the company and its products. Some companies prefer pursuing a Kuwait joint-venture partner rather than working with an agent; however, the market entry approach should be customized to fit the business objectives. Having prior successful experiences in other GCC countries is helpful, but U.S. companies can generally rely on local companies to share experiences and knowledge to effectively conduct their business in these markets. Familiarity with regulations and the general business framework is difficult without the support of a competent local agent or business partner. U.S. companies should seek a local business relationship and the best representatives are those who are already active in their sector with cultivated contacts in the public and private sector.
The Commercial Service in Kuwait can support U.S. companies in establishing a presence in this growing market. We highly discourage entry into the Kuwaiti market without the assistance of competent legal and tax counsel. To that end, we employ experienced Commercial Specialists with industry sector expertise who can tailor your business approach to the right audience and advise your company in navigating the bureaucratic procedures that are common in this part of the world to learn more about the potential for your business in Kuwait, please contact your local U.S. Export Assistance Center (USEAC).
In summary, selecting the appropriate local business partner who will work for you is the single most important step a U.S. exporter can take in Kuwait. Obtaining competent local legal counsel to craft an agreement that protects your company from future liability is also critical. The best local partners are those who share both the risk and profit with their American partners.
The U.S. Commercial Service team is ready to assist and offer support on behalf of U.S. commercial interests in Kuwait. For more information about who to contact, please visit www.trade.gov/kuwait