US hopeful of future N-deals with the UAE

T. Ramavarman
Filed on March 17, 2010

ABU DHABI — Richard Olson, the US Ambassador to the UAE, said his country was optimistic that American companies would be able to get more opportunities in the future nuclear programmes of the UAE, which awarded the construction contracts for its first batch of reactors to a Korean 

“I would not agree with the suggestion that the US companies did not get any opportunity in the first phase of the nuclear programme of the UAE. The consultant for the UAE’s nuclear project management is an American company,” the ambassador said during the question-answer session after delivering a talk at the Zayed University on Tuesday.

“It is true that the contracts for the first four nuclear reactors have been given to the Korean company. But I’m sure the American companies would get more opportunities in the future, as the UAE proceeds with its programmes for the development of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes,” Olson said.

“Officials from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission are currently visiting the UAE, and discussions are already in progress with the UAE authorities. And may be we can hear something this week itself on the co-operation between the US and the UAE on nuclear safeguards and safety. Agreements are also being worked out (between the UAE and the US) in terms of capacity building in the nuclear field in the UAE,” he said.

Expressing happiness over the growing ties between the UAE and the US, the ambassador said: “We have developed an increasingly dense set of commercial relationships.The UAE is the United States’ largest export market in the Middle East North Africa region, surpassing Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Israel.We have well over 30,000 Americans living and working here, and over 750 American companies doing business here.’’

The commercial relationship between the US and the UAE has multiplied six fold in the last decade, using just US exports of goods as a measure. While the US government is intensely aware of shifting patterns in global trade, and the importance of the markets in the BRIC countries — Brazil, Russia, India, and China — it is too often overlooked that the UAE, with its five million people, is a top-20 export destination for US goods. In 2009, the US exported $15 billion to India, but it exported nearly as much as $12 billion to the UAE.

“Corporate America, in the form of the Fortune 550 Companies, has found its way to the UAE. In my opinion, much of the future growth can be picked up by small and medium sized enterprises, and particularly by innovative start-ups.President Obama has recently pledged to double American exports over the next five years; and I believe that the UAE is a country that will feature prominently in the growth of US exports. But equally important, I foresee a growing partnership between US and emirati companies both here in the UAE and in the US, such as Mubadala’s ATIC building, a semiconductor fabrication plan in upstate New York, and beyond,” the ambassador said.

“Export figures do not capture the full extent of American business relationships in the UAE, which include strengths in traditional sectors such as oil and gas and defence, but also rapid growth in civil aviation, and innovative business partnerships like GE’s relationship with Mubadala, Cleveland Clinic’s hospital project and Boeing’s co-operation with Masdar, to name only a few,” he said.


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