US announces trade mission to Qatar and UAE

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Trade between the US and the Arab world is set to hit $117bn within the next two years, led by exports to the UAE (Bloomberg Images - for illustrative purposes only)

Trade between the US and the Arab world is set to hit $117bn within the next two years, led by exports to the UAE (Bloomberg Images - for illustrative purposes only)

The US Department of Commerce has announced a trade mission to Qatar and the UAE from October 30 to November 3, in a bid to increase US trade to the two countries, the US-UAE Business Council has confirmed.

The trade mission will be led by the Department of Commerce and is part of US President Barack Obama’s National Export Initiative (NEI), which aims to double exports in the next five years.

“The Department of Commerce recognises that while there are a number of US companies that have been successful in Qatar and UAE, some companies need assistance negotiating these markets to take advantage of the great opportunities that exist,” the US-UAE Business Council said in a statement.

Trade between the US and the Arab world is set to hit $117bn within the next two years, led by exports to the UAE, the US’s largest export partner in the Middle East, a National US-Arab Chamber of Commerce report has said.

US exports to the Arab world hit a record high of nearly $68bn in 2010, and total demand from the region is set to exceed $1 trillion by the end 2013, the NUSACC, a trade body that represents American businesses in the Arab world, said in February.

“For the first time, more than one million direct and indirect American jobs will be created or sustained by US exports to the Arab world,” said David Hamod, president of NUSACC.

“The MENA region is poised to play a key role in America’s efforts to generate employment here at home through exports.”

For the last five years, the UAE has led imports from the US, with growth jumping by 16.75 percent from $19.04bn in 2009, to $22.23bn in 2010.

By 2013, those figures are expected to reach $35.59bn, the NUSACC report said, far outstripping the next largest importer, Saudi Arabia.

Exports to the kingdom are expected to reach $26.48bn, with Egypt ($10.6bn), Iraq ($8.53bn) and Kuwait ($6.06bn) rounding out America’s top five trade partners.

According to figures released by the UAE Ministry of Foreign Trade, more than 29 percent of goods imported from the US are churned out to the wider MENA region.

When combined with its energy shipments, this makes the UAE the thirteenth largest goods exporter worldwide (excluding intra-EU trade), the report said.

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