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Kuwait / NUSACC Delegation Concludes High-Level Food Security Visit to Nebraska and Iowa

posted on: Nov 15, 2022

Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts (center right) and Nebraska Secretary of State Robert Evnen (center left) welcome Kuwait’s Ambassador to Nebraska. From right to left: H.E. Ambassador Jasem Albudaiwi; Governor Ricketts; Secretary of State Evnen; David Hamod, NUSACC’s President & CEO.

Boosting Kuwait’s Commercial Relationship with the Heartland of America Kuwait’s New Ambassador, H.E. Jasem Albudaiwi, Makes First “Road Show” Trip Across the USA

The Embassy of the State of Kuwait, in partnership with the National U.S. – Arab Chamber of Commerce (NUSACC), recently concluded a high-level trade & investment visit to Nebraska and Iowa. The visit focused on food security, which has gained importance in Kuwait and the Arab world since the onset of the COVID pandemic and the war on Ukraine, which has strained food availability and supply chains around the world.

The visit to America’s Heartland concentrated on state government officials, agricultural commodity groups, universities, manufacturers, service providers, and veterans of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

The delegation was led by Kuwait’s recently-appointed Ambassador, H.E. Jasem  Albudaiwi,  and organized by Mr. David Hamod, President & CEO of NUSACC, and his colleagues at the Chamber. The Ambassador was invited to the Heartland by two Secretaries of

Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts (center right) and Nebraska Secretary of State Robert Evnen (center left) welcome Kuwait’s Ambassador to Nebraska. From right to left: H.E. Ambassador Jasem Albudaiwi; Governor Ricketts; Secretary of State Evnen; David Hamod, NUSACC’s President & CEO.

State, the Honorable Robert Evnen (Nebraska) and the Honorable Paul Pate (Iowa), and the visit was supported by the Governors of Nebraska and Iowa, the Honorable Pete Ricketts, and the Honorable Kim Reynolds, respectively. The visit also received strong support from Iowa’s Secretary of Agriculture, the Honorable Michael Naig, and Iowa’s Lieutenant Governor, the Honorable Adam Gregg.

Partners included the Farm Bureaus of Nebraska and Iowa, the Greater Des Moines Partnership, the Iowa Economic Development Authority, the Nebraska Department of Economic Development, and the U.S. Commercial Service. Sponsors included ADM, Encore Energy, and Lindsay Corporation. Special thanks are due to the Office of the Secretary of State of Nebraska and the Office of U.S. Congressman Don Bacon (NE-02) for their instrumental support.

“This visit provided a great opportunity to introduce His Excellency the Ambassador to the Heartland of America,” said David Hamod of NUSACC. “The Midwest is distinguished by its productivity in agriculture, manufacturing, technology, and education, which makes this region a natural partner for Kuwait. Our chamber is proud to help grow the relationship between the breadbasket of America and the State of Kuwait.”

Iowa and Nebraska: The Breadbasket of America

Iowa and Nebraska utilize more than 90 percent of their total land area for agricultural purposes, producing over 14 percent of America’s food. As such, they are second only to California (which is 30,000 square miles larger than Nebraska and Iowa). Taken together, these three states produce nearly $100 billion in agricultural receipts per year.

Products from Nebraska and Iowa lend themselves to exportation all over the world. (In 2021, goods exports from Nebraska and Iowa to Arab countries exceeded $400 million.)

Iowa and Nebraska are prolific agricultural producers because of the extraordinary natural resources of the Midwest. But these two states have also distinguished themselves for their cutting-edge agricultural innovation, including world-renowned hybrid plants, animal husbandry, and precision agriculture, which enables farmers to sustainably manage the region’s natural resources (especially water).

This is due, in part, to the partnerships that have been formed among farmers, colleges & universities, industry, and state government offices. These partnerships have created remarkable ecosystems in Nebraska and Iowa that support innovation and entrepreneurship in the agricultural sector and beyond.

Visit to Nebraska (October 24 and 25)

Appreciation from the Governor and Secretary of State

In a formal meeting in his office in the State Capitol building, Nebraska’s Governor, the Hon. Pete Ricketts, welcomed Ambassador Albudaiwi and his delegation. “Nebraskans are grateful for the strong friendship between the United States and the State of Kuwait,” Ricketts said.

“Agriculture is the heart and soul of Nebraska,” Ricketts noted. “Through the years, our farmers and ranchers have built a reputation for producing crops and livestock that are second to none.”

“Kuwait is a key ally for our nation in the Middle East and an important trading partner for Nebraska,” Ricketts concluded. “Thank you, Ambassador Albudaiwi, for visiting Nebraska to discuss opportunities to strengthen our ties with one another.”

Nebraska’s Secretary of State, the Hon. Robert Evnen, took advantage of the delegation’s visit to the State Capitol building to present a certificate of Nebraska Honorary Citizenship to Ambassador Albudaiwi. “It is a great honor and pleasure to welcome you to Nebraska, Mr. Ambassador,” Evnen noted. “We are finding much of common interest for the mutual benefit of the people of Nebraska and the people of Kuwait.”

“I’m pleased to learn that you are being warmly received by Nebraskans wherever you go in this great state, particularly so with our veterans of Desert Storm. We look forward to future follow-up in many areas of mutual interest,” he concluded.

Nebraska: An Overview

Nebraska is the largest quality beef producer in America. With 19,000 cattle ranches, the state generates more than $7 billion per year in beef sales, including grass-fed, corn-fed, and Halal beef. The State of Nebraska counts corn production as its leading crop and ranks third among the nation’s corn-producing states. Nebraska’s “Golden Triangle” of corn, livestock, and ethanol production drives an industry that also ranks high in grains delivered to distilleries and refineries.

Nebraska has enjoyed America’s highest cash receipts for cattle in recent years, followed by Texas, Kansas, Iowa, and Colorado. Nebraska is the only state to have cash receipts for cattle over $10 billion.

Among U.S. states, Nebraska ranks:

#1 in agricultural cash receipts per capita

#1 in popcorn production over the past decade

#1 in Great Northern bean production (44,401,249 kg in 2021)

#2 in ethanol production (which is produced from roughly 40 percent of Nebraska’s corn) #2 in cattle on feed, all cattle and calves, beef exports, and commercial red meat production

#3 in corn for grain production and corn exports

#3 in total agriculture cash receipts ($26.35 billion in 2021) #4 for land in farms and ranches

#5 for soybean exports, soybean production, and sugar beet production

Nebraska exports large quantities of ethanol, corn, wheat, soybeans, popcorn, and pulses. The state is also growing in the production and processing of dairy and sorghum. To achieve high yields, Nebraska relies upon precision agriculture, including sophisticated water management and irrigation techniques.

Site Visits to Cutting-Edge Companies

Nebraska is home to some of the largest agricultural irrigation companies in the world, producing more than 90 percent of America’s pivot irrigation systems. One  of these leaders is Lindsay Corporation, which offers cutting-edge technologies in agriculture and infrastructure that are designed to encourage sustainability and a better quality of life.

Gustavo Oberto, Lindsay’s President of Global Agricultural Irrigation, noted, “It was an honor welcoming H.E. Ambassador Albudaiwi to Lindsay Corporation Global Headquarters.”

Oberto went on to say, “We engaged in meaningful discussions on Kuwait’s food security needs and how Lindsay’s water-efficient mechanized irrigation technologies can help Kuwait reduce the dependence on foreign sources of food. Kuwait’s road safety and traffic flow infrastructure were also part of the discussion. We look forward to continuing the trusted and long-standing relationship with the State of Kuwait.”

The meeting at Lindsay was supported by the Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute, part of the University of Nebraska. The Institute’s Executive Director, Dr. Peter McCornick, discussed potential avenues to help Kuwait improve its productivity and resilience in agriculture. Also participating in the meeting was Dr. Tala Awada, Associate Dean at Nebraska’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources (IANR), which specializes in cross-cutting exchanges and training programs. 

Just down the road from Lindsay is Encore Energy, a premier energy services company that specializes in supplying natural gas commodity and energy-related services to commercial and industrial end-users. Ken Graeber, CEO, noted, “Encore is privileged and grateful for this opportunity to meet His Excellency the Ambassador, and we look forward to continued conversations. Business is all about relationships, and at Encore, it has always been about the customer.”

The State of Kuwait recently announced that it plans to increase natural gas production. According to Reuters, the Acting CEO of Kuwait Oil Company, Eng. Khaled Nayef Al Otaibi, noted, “With the world recovering from the disruptions caused by COVID-19 pandemic . . . the company is determined to increase its natural gas production in line with Kuwait Petroleum Corporation’s strategy to meet the domestic demand for energy.”

In his remarks at Encore Energy, Ambassador Albudaiwi summed up the sector this way: “Energy is to Kuwait what agriculture is to Nebraska. It is our bread and butter.”

Nebraska’s economy is increasingly diversified – moving beyond agriculture – with a special emphasis on insurance and financial services. TD Ameritrade, Berkshire Hathaway, and Mutual of Omaha are among the major financial firms that call Nebraska home. The state’s largest employers are Offutt Air Force Base (headquarters of the U.S. Strategic Command), University of Nebraska Medical Center, Tyson Meats, and Mutual of Omaha Insurance Company.

Multi-modal trade and transport are important in Nebraska, which hosts 11,500 trucking companies (two of which are in the nation’s top ten). Union Pacific Railroad’s headquarters is in Nebraska, as is the largest rail classification complex in the world (in North Platte).

Nebraska does not have an inventory tax, making it an attractive location for distribution centers and warehousing operations. Manufacturers, wholesalers, and distributors that rely on international trade benefit greatly from Nebraska’s two foreign-trade zones. Businesses may defer duty payments on foreign goods brought to Nebraska until they enter U.S. trading channels. This offers a substantial cost saving and can ultimately save 20 – 30 percent in logistical costs over other states.

Roundtables in Nebraska

The Kuwaiti Ambassador participated in two commercial roundtable discussions in Nebraska.

A Business Roundtable for 30 Nebraska companies was organized by the Office of U.S. Congressman Don Bacon (NE-02) in partnership with the Office of the Nebraska Secretary of State. The event was hosted at the offices of Scoular, an Omaha-based supply chain company dedicated to the buying, selling, storage, handling, and processing of grain.

Rep. Bacon, a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces, thanked the Kuwaiti Ambassador for the hospitality extended to U.S. military and civilians serving and working in Kuwait. He stated, “Kuwait has been a great home for thousands of our people.” He continued, “Kuwait is a strong ally of the United States and an important partner in combatting international terrorism and strengthening international trade between our two countries. It is an honor to host our Kuwaiti friends in the Heartland of America.”

An Agricultural Commodities Roundtable was organized by the Nebraska Farm Bureau at its headquarters in the capital city of Lincoln. Mark McHargue, a fourth-generation Nebraska farmer who serves as President of the Farm Bureau, highlighted potential partnerships between Nebraska and Kuwait.

McHargue noted, “With Nebraska’s extensive water supply and prolific soils, we have an abundance of agricultural products that we are happy to share with the world. Kuwait and Nebraska have many things in common, and it make sense to me that we should work together to form an even stronger trading relationship.”

Commodity groups meeting with the Kuwaiti Ambassador included the Nebraska Cattlemen, Nebraska Grain Sorghum Board, Nebraska Soybean Association, the Nebraska State Dairy Association, Nebraska Wheat Board, and others. These associations, with thousands of members, made it clear that they are keen to ensure a reliable, high-quality supply of agricultural products to the State of Kuwait.

University of Nebraska

The University of Nebraska at Lincoln is a land-grant institution of higher education. The mission of these institutions, set forth in 1862, is to focus on the teaching of practical agriculture, science, military science, and engineering.

Walter “Ted” Carter, President of the University of Nebraska, warmly received Ambassador Albudaiwi in his offices in Lincoln. Carter, a retired U.S. Admiral, devoted his distinguished military career to protecting the United States. He logged more

than 6,300 flying hours, with over 125 combat missions around the world, including Kuwait.

“It was an honor to help welcome the Ambassador to Nebraska,” President Carter noted. “My own history with Kuwait dates to the 1990s, when I was part of the liberation campaign as a Naval Aviator, and I have always known the people of Kuwait to be hospitable and generous.”

He concluded, “We have many opportunities to continue working together in education and research, particularly in areas important to Nebraskans, like agriculture and medicine.”

The University of Nebraska, along with other colleges and universities in the Cornhusker State, play an essential role in the commercial ecosystem that supports the economy there. This includes expertise in research & development, often in partnership with industry, that can lead to breakthroughs in food security & sustainability, healthcare, high tech, infrastructure, education, and other quality-of-life disciplines.

In this spirit, Ambassador Albudaiwi visited the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC), where he received an innovation tour led by Dr. Chris Kratochvil, Associate Vice Chancellor for Clinical Research at UNMC and Vice President for Research at Nebraska Medicine. The tour showcased UNMC’s state-of-the-art technologies for research, training, and operations. Nebraska has one of the globe’s most advanced infectious diseases facilities, with a world-famous biocontainment and quarantine unit.

During the Ebola outbreak of 2014, for example, UNMC/Nebraska Medicine was recognized as a U.S. national asset and referred to as the “gold standard” for treatment and development of safety protocols to handle Ebola and highly infectious diseases.

Ambassador Meets with U.S. Veterans

At the invitation of the Nebraska Secretary of State, the Hon. Robert Evnen, Ambassador Albudaiwi met withaselectgroupof Gulf Warveterans, who  shared  their  experiences  with H.E. the Ambassador.

“It was an honor to meet with Ambassador Albudaiwi, alongside some of my fellow Gulf War veterans,” said John Hilgert, Director of the Nebraska Department of Veterans’ Affairs. “Hearing his perspective and the thanks he gave on behalf of the Kuwaiti people reiterated the importance and righteousness of Operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield and America’s continued efforts to protect democracy around the globe.”

Another veteran, Dean Mathisen, said, “I was humbled and greatly honored to meet with His Excellency today in Nebraska’s capital. His expressions of gratitude on behalf of the beautiful citizens of Kuwait touched my heart and made me proud to be a small part of the world’s defense of his country.”

For his part, Ambassador Albudaiwi expressed his heartfelt appreciation to U.S. veterans and their families. The liberation of Kuwait fundamentally changed the security partnership between Kuwait and the United States, he noted.

Today, he said, the partners work together through the U.S. – Kuwait Strategic Dialogue, and thousands of U.S. service members are stationed in Kuwait, representing the fourth-largest U.S. military presence overseas.

Visit to Iowa (October 26 and 27)

Appreciation from the Governor and Lieutenant Governor

The Hon. Kim Reynolds, Governor of the State of Iowa, was pleased to receive Ambassador Albudaiwi in the Hawkeye State. She said, “I’m grateful for Ambassador Albudaiwi’s visit to the State of Iowa, and we value the mutual friendship with Kuwait. Iowa is a leader in agricultural products that feed and fuel the world.”

She went on to say, “As Iowa farmers continue to bolster production capacity, we are always exploring opportunities to enhance our current trade partnerships. I look forward to continued discussions on expanding our exports to Kuwait, which will greatly benefit our peoples and our economies.”

These words of welcome were mirrored by the Lieutenant Governor, the Hon. Adam Gregg. He noted, “We have a very special relationship, and we value it very much.” Gregg highlighted Iowa’s increasingly diverse economy, saying, “Iowa is looking to explore partnerships in sectors beyond agriculture, such as insurance, financial services, and manufacturing.”

Ambassador Albudaiwi replied: “The purpose of my visit is not only to communicate Kuwait’s needs, but also to highlight the opportunities for Iowa companies looking at the Kuwaiti market and beyond.”

Gregg concluded the meeting by extending an invitation to Albudaiwi to attend the National Lieutenant Governors Association (NLGA) Annual Meeting, to be held in Des Moines in August 2023. Albudaiwi expressed his gratitude for the invitation and congratulated Gregg on his role as Chair-Elect of the NLGA.

Iowa: An Overview

Home to a famous quadrennial presidential caucus, Iowa plays an outsized role in American politics. And thanks to the entertainment industry – “The Music Man,” “Field of Dreams,” “Bridges of Madison County,” etc. – Iowa also looms large in America’s popular imagination.

As America’s second largest producer of food, totaling $35 billion in cash receipts per year, Iowa (like Nebraska) is a heavyweight in food security and sustainability.

a Iowa is America’s top producer of corn, harvesting 2.55 billion bushels (17 percent of the national yield) in 2021. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the most recent harvest set a record for the highest corn yields in Iowa history.

a Iowa leads the nation in ethanol production, totaling around 4.4 billion gallons in 2021. Over fifty percent of the state’s corn is utilized to create nearly 27 percent of America’s total ethanol production.

a Iowa is the top producer of shell and processed eggs. Iowa’s egg farmers lead the nation in egg production, caring for nearly 55 million laying hens, producing nearly 16 billion eggs per year.

a Iowa is America’s second-largest producer of soybeans (14 percent of the nation’s total, around 622 million bushels in 2021). According to the USDA, soybeans are the dominant oilseed in the USA, accounting for about 90 percent of U.S. oilseed production.

Iowa’s economy, like that of Nebraska, is increasingly diversified. In the last five years, according to the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA), the state has experienced GDP growth of 45 percent in the insurance and financial services sectors alone. By attracting some of the largest companies in those industries, Iowa is positioning itself as one of the nation’s top insurance and finance hubs.

One clear incentive is Iowa’s insurance premium tax rate; at just one percent, it is one of the lowest in the country. In addition, Iowa has enacted policies that help finance and insurance companies hire, train, and employ more skilled workers. For example, according to IEDA, Iowa public colleges and universities offer 24 bachelor’s degree programs in accounting and 21 bachelor’s degree programs in finance, as well as three of the top 25 actuarial science degree programs in the country. These incentives and programs help to explain why Iowa is now billing itself as the new “Insurance Capital of America.”

Iowa State University

Ambassador Albudaiwi kicked off his visit to Iowa with a tour of Iowa State University, where more than 20 Kuwaitis are currently enrolled (half are young men and half are young women). ISU, like the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, is one of the nation’s premier land-grant institutions.

Dr. Wendy Wintersteen, President of ISU, highlighted the university’s traditional expertise in agriculture, as well as ways in which ISU is elevating that expertise to a new level. One example of this, she said, is ISU’s “Start Something Network,” which is one of the foremost programs for developing agricultural entrepreneurs in the world. This initiative is part of ISU’s broader commitment          to entrepreneurship: Innovate at Iowa State.”

From cross-discipline collaboration to real-world entrepreneurial training, ISU and its industry partners support the research community with systems, services, and tools that help visionary discoveries become economic realities in the marketplace.

The university’s emphasis on innovation and entrepreneurship has earned national attention. The Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU) honored ISU with its 2020 Innovation and Economic Prosperity Innovation Award, and ISU’s undergraduate entrepreneurship program is currently ranked 11th in the nation by the Princeton Review.

“Food brings peace. It is a basic human right,” Wintersteen noted. In a reference to ISU’s agricultural roots and the school’s budding entrepreneurs, she concluded, “It all begins with a seed.”

In addition to paying his respects to President Wintersteen, Ambassador Albudaiwi toured ISU’s Seed Science Center, Bioeconomy Institute, and Student Innovation Center.

The Seed Science Center is a center of excellence in seed research, education, technology transfer, and global seed programs. It provides a focus for teaching, research, and extension programs to introduce science into policy to eradicate hunger and benefit the world seed trade.

The Bioeconomy Institute leads the nation in establishing the bioeconomy, where society obtains renewable fuel, energy, chemicals, and materials from agricultural sources. Agriculture is supplying renewable energy and carbon to the bioeconomy, while engineering will transform these resources into transportation fuels, commodity chemicals, and electric power.

The Student Innovation Center, with support from Boeing and other industry leaders, provides world-class facilities for experimentation and interdisciplinary collaboration. The free exchange of ideas currently covers the following disciplines: Virtual Reality, Textiles, Woodworking, 3D Printing, Podcasting, Welding, and Videography.

Roundtable at the Iowa Farm Bureau

The Iowa Farm Bureau hosted a roundtable discussion led by the Hon. Mike Naig, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture, and Brent Johnson, President of the Farm Bureau. Also participating in the discussion was the Deputy Secretary of Agriculture, the Hon. Julie Kenney, as well as leaders from Iowa commodity associations.

“Iowa is an agricultural leader and a top state for the production of corn and soybeans, as well as meat, eggs, and biofuels, among many other products,” said Naig, the Secretary of Agriculture. “Iowans are accustomed and proud to share this abundant agricultural production with consumers throughout the United States and around the world, including Kuwait. We celebrate our global position, and we feel a connection to our trading partners.”

Iowa prides itself on the quality and quantity of its agricultural yields, but also on sustainability: Farming’s impact on soil, water, and other natural resources. In addition, Iowa pays close attention to how the state exports its food (i.e. – to preserve freshness during transit).

With that in mind, part of the roundtable discussion revolved around opportunities to establish processing facilities in Kuwait to serve the wider region’s demand. As one Iowa Farm Bureau leader put it, “We are ready to sign a partnership agreement to ensure that Kuwait always has a direct supplier of quality beef.”

World Food Prize Foundation: “Feeding A Fragile World”

Ambassador Albudaiwi visited the World Food Prize Foundation, which presents a $250,000 annual award for agricultural sustainability that is akin to a Nobel Prize. Engraved in the elegant headquarters of the World Food Prize in Des Moines is this message: “Food is the moral right of all who are born into this world.”

Mashal Husain, Vice President, noted, “We strongly encourage Kuwait to participate in the annual World Food Prize event, where more than 70 countries gather to discuss issues concerning food security.” She went on to say, “Our Global Youth Institute program is a promising opportunity for the youth of the world to learn more about sustainability and food security.”

Iowa Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Reception

More than 70 American veterans from Desert Shield / Desert Storm met with Ambassador Albudaiwi at their VFW post in Des Moines, Iowa. It was a cathartic, heartfelt experience for both sides.

“I wanted to come here personally to say thank you,” Albudaiwi noted. “What you did, and what your country did, was amazing. Today, we are stronger partners – friends and brothers – reflecting an unparalleled partnership when it comes to military cooperation.”

“I am from a generation that knows exactly what your country has done for Kuwait,” he concluded. “Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Your sacrifice will never be forgotten.”

Michael Young, Commander of Beaverdale VFW Post 9127 in Des Moines, noted, “It was an honor to host a reception for H.E. Jasem Albudaiwi to meet local veterans. We reached out to Desert Storm veterans across the State of Iowa, including Marine Reserve veterans who joined us from Waterloo, Iowa (a drive of more than two hours).”

Young, a former Board Member of the National Desert Storm War Memorial Association, concluded, “On behalf of Desert Shield and Desert Storm veterans here in Central Iowa, we extend our deep appreciation and gratitude to the Ambassador, his staff, and the National U.S. – Arab Chamber of Commerce for their work and support of this important event.”

First Sergeant Dennis Jones, U.S. Marine Corps (ret.), was a Staff Sergeant in the Marine Corps Reserve when his unit was activated to serve in Kuwait. “We arrived in the Kuwait Theater of Operations on January 1, 1991,” he noted, “where we performed security missions until the start of Operation Desert Storm. We then moved to Task

Force Ripper, which was assigned to actually liberate Kuwait City.”

He continued, “No one could have imagined the conditions left by Saddam Hussein’s military. The reception we received from the Kuwaiti people confirmed for all of us that our purpose and actions were just.”

“I do not recall a time in our history when a foreign diplomat has taken the time to meet and thank those who have served,” Jones concluded. “We deeply appreciate the Ambassador’s heartfelt remarks, and we will talk about this evening for years to come.”

“The Kuwait – U.S. Partnership: Opportunities for the State of Iowa”

The Greater Des Moines Partnership (GDMP), in collaboration with the National

U.S. – Arab Chamber of Commerce (NUSACC), hosted a business roundtable entitled “The Kuwait – U.S. Partnership: Opportunities for the State of Iowa.” The event, which drew over 35 participants, was supported by the Iowa Economic Development Authority and the U.S. Commercial Service.

Speakers included: the Hon. Paul Pate, Iowa’s Secretary of State; Jay Byers, President & CEO of the GDMP; and David Hamod, President & CEO of NUSACC. Keynote remarks were delivered by H.E. Jasem Albudaiwi, Kuwait’s Ambassador to the United States.

Secretary Pate noted, “I appreciated the opportunity to visit with Ambassador Albudaiwi on ways we could grow both our relationship and our economies. It was a privilege to have him visit our state . . . Kuwait is an important and strategic trading partner, and I look forward to future conversations.”

Pate went on to say, “Last year, Iowa exported nearly $16 billion dollars of made-in- America goods to the world. Hundreds of thousands of Iowa jobs are supported by international trade, and exports sustain thousands of Iowa businesses. Iowa has long been the heart of America’s food production, and our state continues to grow its role as a producer for the world.”

Jay Byers, President & CEO of the Greater Des Moines Partnership, highlighted the State of Iowa’s increasingly diversified economy. “The State of Iowa has long been a global leader in the production of agricultural commodities, and it is also a strong exporter of manufacturing goods and services,” he noted. “We continuously seek  new  opportunities  for  global engagement and partnerships that are mutually beneficial.”

David Hamod, NUSACC’s President & CEO, highlighted the special partnership between Kuwait and the USA. “This is an extraordinary relationship forged in the crucible of war, a partnership that has flourished during the subsequent years of peace.”

Hamod discussed three recent shocks to the global trading system: COVID, the war on Ukraine, and the fight against inflation. “All of these pose challenges,” he said, “but they also represent opportunities.” He went on to identify opportunities for American exporters, investors from Kuwait, service providers, and the prospect of U.S. – Kuwait collaboration in higher education.

In his keynote remarks, Ambassador Albudaiwi noted, “Kuwait has clearly demonstrated its courage and trust in the United States by continuing to invest in American companies, markets, and projects. Kuwait would like to see similar engagement from the U.S. private sector with its counterparts in Kuwait. There are many trade and investment opportunities in Kuwait for Iowa companies.”

Albudaiwi continued, “I believe that one of these opportunities lies in the sector of agriculture, especially with the ever-growing importance of food security. I understand that more than 90 percent of Iowa’s total land base is used for agriculture, and that agriculture and its related industries contribute $121.1 billion a year into Iowa’s economy, creating one out of every five jobs in the state.”

“Trade in Kuwait has rebounded to its normal levels and continues to grow, despite the dual challenges of the Coronavirus pandemic and the Ukraine-related instability currently permeating the region,” Albudaiwi pointed out. “This resilience is one of the focal points of the strong relations that bind the USA and Kuwait closely together.”

Albudaiwi concluded, “Thank you for providing me with this great opportunity to speak here today in the beautiful State of Iowa. I look forward to engaging with all of you and, I hope, to bring Iowa further into the fold of the already solid commercial partnership between the United States and Kuwait.”

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