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U.S. Trade Mission Courts Business In United Arab Emirates

Published on 11 March 2014

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by Office of the Spokesperson


Abu Dhabi, UAE

On the first leg of a Middle East trade mission, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker told business people in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE), March 9 that the 21 companies in her delegation are eager to do business in the UAE and serve as partners on a number of infrastructure projects the country has undertaken in areas such as renewable energy and transportation.

Pritzker delivered remarks to business and government officials at a luncheon hosted by the United States–United Arab Emirates Business Council, the United States Chamber of Commerce, AmCham Abu Dhabi and the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce & Industry, the Commerce Department said in a news release the same day. Her delegation will make three stops over the coming week, including the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Pritzker highlighted the growing U.S.-UAE bilateral trade relationship, noting that U.S. exports to the UAE have more than doubled since 2009. “Due to the bridges that all of you have built,” she told her audience, “America’s commercial and economic relationship with the UAE has never been stronger.”

She said the export-ready infrastructure firms traveling with her are focused specifically on areas like project management and engineering (including construction, architecture and design), renewable energy (solar, wind, waste-to-energy), smart grid and energy efficiency, and environmental technologies (including water/wastewater, air pollution control and waste management).

Pritzker outlined several steps needed to take the U.S.–United Arab Emirates commercial relationship even further, including supporting the UAE as a platform for American firms to do business, increasing foreign direct investment and supporting opportunities for entrepreneurs.

Earlier on March 9, Pritzker led the trade mission’s business delegation on visits to two government-established entities that are making investments in infrastructure, helping the U.S. companies explore possible export or investment opportunities in the UAE.

First, the delegation met with Khaldoon Mubarak, the CEO of Mubadala, a development company that is investing in infrastructure in renewable energy, educational facilities, transportation and logistics. They also visited the Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority, which currently serves approximately 40 percent of the UAE’s population and is working to expand its capacity.

President Obama will visit Saudi Arabia later in March to meet with His Majesty King Abdulla bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud to discuss Gulf security and peace in the Middle East, the Commerce Department said. The Gulf region, with its growing economies, is a critical area of focus for U.S. businesses, it said.

Since Obama launched the National Export Initiative in 2010, U.S. exports have increased 111 percent to the United Arab Emirates, 65 percent to Saudi Arabia and 57 percent to Qatar, according to the Commerce Department.

“The U.S.–United Arab Emirates trade relationship is undergoing a period of rapid expansion as the UAE seeks to undertake major investment in its infrastructure and transport systems,” the Commerce Department said, noting that U.S. exports to the UAE totaled almost $23 billion in 2012.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the 10th-largest U.S. trading partner and the 20th-largest recipient of U.S. exports, the department said. The Saudi economy, which is the largest in the Middle East and North Africa region, “has been growing at a robust pace,” it said.

The Commerce Department said that total U.S. exports to Qatar totaled nearly $5 billion in 2013, establishing a new record.

This trade mission marks the first time in 15 years that a U.S. commerce secretary has taken a trade mission to the Gulf. In remarks February 27 in Washington, Pritzker stressed the mission’s importance as a demonstration of the United States’ commitment to a sustained economic partnership in the Gulf region.


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Posted 2014-03-11 12:55:00