In 2013, the U.A.E. imported USD $26.9 billion in U.S. exports, making it the U.S.A.’s largest export destination in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region for the fifth year in a row. The fact that new U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker started her inaugural tour from Abu Dhabi and Dubai indicates how Washington values the commercial ties between both countries.
Confirming this, Pritzker addressed an audience in Abu Dhabi saying, “Our bilateral friendship reaches all the way back to the U.A.E.’s foundation. We have supported each other in countless ways. Clearly, the U.S. and the U.A.E. share a commitment to preserving the stability and security throughout the Gulf and that commitment won’t change, even as the U.S. becomes more energy independent.”
Only an eight-hour flight from most of the world’s strongest and emerging markets, the U.A.E. boasts world-class and multi-modal infrastructure that satisfies the needs of global travelers as they connect from the Emirates to economic hubs in MENA and the rest of the world. With the U.S.’s support, Emirati business leaders are learning how to become more ingenious and innovative while competing on a global stage.
Both the U.S. and the U.A.E. are currently creating commercial partnerships and innovative projects, especially in the infrastructure development and green build, energy development, transportation, media and tourism, education, and energy development sectors. These projects are in part a result of the U.A.E.’s economic development plans (e.g. U.A.E. Vision 2021 and Abu Dhabi Vision 2030) and President Barack Obama’s national export initiative.
Pritzker commented, “We are helping to build a legal environment where entrepreneurs can have the ability to try, fail, and try again, which is crucial. Entrepreneurship is something that is near and dear to my heart, having started five companies myself, so there are a lot of ways we can work together on that.”
Khalfan Al Kaabi, the vice president of the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce, agreed saying that the country plans to build bridges with the U.S. and maintain them. “As we go through an economic growth in Abu Dhabi, we see there are more opportunities that can be concluded between our members and their U.S. counterparts,” he said. “As a business community, we must take advantage of this excellent reality.”
The U.A.E.’s government has committed billions of dollars to expand its airports and infrastructure across the country, including a multi-modal rail system that would link it to neighboring GCC countries. By planning these projects, the Emirates has added American industry to its list of key commercial partners. And by the looks of it, American private and public sector leaders will become active members in this process.