Barbara A. Leaf, US Ambassador to the UAE
Senior UAE and US trade officials have discussed areas of cooperation in ten sectors and industries to boost competitiveness, trade and investment.
AmCham Abu Dhabi held its 8th Annual Roundtable Summit, which was attended by over 200 leading business executives, entrepreneurs, academics and government officials.
Those who spoke on the occasion included AmCham Abu Dhabi chairman Sharief Fahmy, Abdulla Al Saleh, undersecretary for Foreign Trade and Industry, Ministry of Economy; Helal Mohamed Al Hameli, deputy director general, Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Barbara A. Leaf, US Ambassador to the UAE; and Christian Reed, executive director, Middle East and Africa, International Trade Administration, US Department of Commerce, Washington DC.
In his remarks, Al Saleh said the UAE-US relationship has its foundation in a shared commitment to promote peace and security in the Gulf, and strengthen commercial ties.
"The partnership has become stronger through the years with exponential growth in bilateral trade and economic cooperation and cultural partnerships," he said.
The undersecretary noted: "The UAE is currently focusing on a number of sectors towards shaping itself into a diversified, knowledge based economy. The UAE Vision 2021 puts sectors like technology, renewable energy, industry and SMEs high on its development agenda. All these sectors offer immense opportunities for cooperation," the undersecretary said.
Al Saleh specifically highlighted the aeronautics, defense, healthcare and venture capital sectors noting the important contributions of American companies and organizations including NASA, Lockheed Martin, Boeing and Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi.
The 10 roundtable breakout sessions, led by top industry executives, met to discuss the challenges to trade and investment in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, propose potential solutions, and identify the key stakeholders necessary to implement them.
The sectors in which interest was shown included banking and finance; cyber innovation; defense, aerospace and security; education and professional training; energy, water, oil and gas; engineering, construction and project management; fast-moving consumer goods healthcare and insurance; hospitality and tourism; and media, arts and culture.
The issues and recommendations identified in each of the sectors will be presented to US and UAE policymakers and government officials, to strengthen competitiveness and increase trade and investment.
In his address, Al Hameli said: "The Summit aims at promoting cooperation and identifying attractive investment opportunities to forcefully drive forward the Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030 for a more diversified market-type economy."
Opening the summit, Fahmy said with the participation of UAE and US officials will strengthen the commercial relationship, and help the UAE achieve its 2021 Vision.
US Ambassador to the UAE Barbara Leaf said: "With over $25 billion in two-way trade, the UAE is America's largest export market in the Middle East, and our second largest trading partner in the Arab World, and the 16th largest globally. At $27.4 billion in foreign stock investment, the UAE is America's seventh-fastest growing source of FDI, and the largest source from the Middle East."
Reed highlighted key areas that the US Department of Commerce is working on in the UAE and GCC.
He noted that October is Discover America Month in the GCC, underscored FDI opportunities in the US for Emirati investors and emphasized important standards work in the GCC for automotive standards and green building codes.