For Immediate Release: June 1, 2010
Contact: Tim Truman (202) 482-3809
Commercial Engagement in Middle East is Key To Export Growth
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates -- Suresh Kumar, Assistant Secretary of Commerce and Director General of the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service today emphasized the importance of U.S. commercial cooperation with the region in expanding mutual economic growth and job creation at the close of a weeklong trip to Egypt and the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.).
In speeches to various business groups in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, Kumar noted that U.S.-U.A.E. trade multiplied six-fold in the past 10 years, and that the U.A.E. has emerged as the largest market for American goods and services exports in the Middle East, importing more than $12 billion from the U.S. in 2009.
“This is a testament to the dynamism of the U.A.E. economy and its openness to international partners,” Kumar said, while noting that more than 750 U.S. companies have offices in the U.A.E., and that American firms are increasingly finding the country an ideal location for their regional headquarters.
“Growing trade with the Middle East/North Africa region is also a key component of the President Obama’s broader plan to create jobs in the United States, a strategy that the President outlined in his National Export Initiative (NEI),” Kumar said. “The NEI addresses a key characteristic of the 21st Century economy – global trade and domestic job creation are increasingly interdependent and can improve the quality of life for all those who engage productively.”
In Cairo, Egypt, Kumar advocated on behalf of American exporters, met with business representatives, and delivered a keynote address at the Middle East/North Africa (MENA) Power Conference.
During his remarks, Kumar noted that Egypt will continue to be at the center of the region’s energy demands as a gateway to the rest of the MENA region. Two-way trade between the U.S. and MENA region totaled more than $127 billion last year, and the U.S. trade relationship is buttressed by five bi-lateral trade agreements in the region.
“Globalization has transformed many parts of the world, including the Middle East and North Africa, into vibrant, international trading centers,” Kumar said. “The possibilities, potential, and aspirations in these markets that are home to more than 300 million people are even more spectacular and that is what makes developing power and infrastructure now so very important.”
Kumar cited the importance of growth in the power and infrastructure industries to the U.S. trade relationship in the region, noting that energy production in MENA countries is not increasing as fast as local demand. “I am optimistic about the opportunities this represents for U.S. power equipment and service providers to meet the growing energy demands in this region,” he stated.
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