With rapidly growing economies and an expanding middle class driving demand for U.S. products and services, countries in the Gulf region are ramping up investments in transportation, renewable energy, and other infrastructure projects. That is why U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker is leading a trade mission to the region this week, her second since being sworn in last June. Along with a delegation of 21 export-ready U.S. companies, Secretary Pritzker started her trip in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, a country with which the U.S. has a growing trade relationship. As the UAE undertakes major investment in its infrastructure and transportation systems, there are tremendous opportunities for U.S. firms to serve as strong partners.
On Sunday morning, Secretary Pritzker led the trade mission’s business delegation on visits to two government-established entities that are making investments in infrastructure, in order to help these U.S. companies explore possible export or investment opportunities in the UAE. First they met with Khaldoon Mubarak, the CEO of Mubadala, a development company that is investing in renewable energy, educational facilities, transportation, and logistics. Mubadala has already partnered with a number of U.S. companies, including General Electric, Boeing and Lockheed Martin. The delegation 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.
Secretary Pritzker then 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. In her remarks, she highlighted the growing U.S.-UAE bilateral trade relationship, noting that U.S. exports to the UAE have more than doubled since 2009. Secretary Pritzker underscored that the companies on the trade mission are eager to do business in the UAE, and to serve as partners on a number of infrastructure projects the country has undertaken in areas such as renewable energy and transportation.
Later that day, Secretary Pritzker also discussed opportunities for the UAE to invest in the United States. She promoted SelectUSA, a Commerce-led effort to showcase the United States as the world’s premier business location, attract investment and create jobs. The UAE is currently the 19th largest source of foreign direct investment into the United States, with $21 billion in total stock. In fact, Mubadala has already invested $6 billion dollars in Global Foundries, a semiconductor fabrication facility in New York, and recently made a commitment for $10 billion more. Through SelectUSA, Secretary Pritzker hopes to connect UAE investors to resources in the United States, attracting additional investment and further deepening the countries’ commercial relationship.
Secretary Pritzker also reached out to government leaders in Abu Dhabi to strengthen the U.S.-UAE commercial relationship, and to highlight the opportunities for Emirati companies to invest in the United States. On Sunday morning, Secretary Pritzker also met with His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi. They discussed the potential for U.S. companies to partner with the UAE on a number of projects.
The trade mission demonstrates the United States’ commitment to a sustained economic partnership in the Gulf region. After leaving Abu Dhabi, Secretary Pritzker and the business delegation traveled to Dubai, and are continue their trade mission in Saudi Arabia and Qatar. The Obama Administration is continuing to strengthen the security partnership between the United States and the Gulf region, as well. President Obama will visit Saudi Arabia later this month to meet with His Majesty King Abdulla bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud and discuss Gulf security and peace in the Middle East.