US exports to Arab world near $66bn in 2012

National US-Arab Chamber of Commerce says exports increase by 17% over 2011 data

US exports to the Arab World rose more than 17 percent to nearly $66bn in 2012, according to latest figures.

New data released by the National US-Arab Chamber of Commerce (NUSACC) showed that exports to 22 Arab nations increased from $56.18bn in 2011 to $65.91bn last year, its highest for a single year.

By comparison, total US merchandise exports to the world increased by only 4.5 percent, from $1.48trn in 2011 to $1.55trn in 2012.

"Despite the challenges of the Arab Spring, US exports are going from strength to strength," said David Hamod, president & CEO of the National US-Arab Chamber of Commerce.

"Economic drivers in the Middle East and North Africa region - energy, infrastructure development (including railways), defence sales, consumer demand, and a growing commitment to knowledge transfer - are leading to unprecedented sales for US companies," he added.

He said the findings are consistent with the Chamber's research that forecasts US exports of goods and services to the Arab world growing to $167bn by 2015.

The largest category of goods exported was transportation equipment, constituting $26.04bn of total US goods shipped to the Arab world.

Importing countries were led by Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nations, particularly the UAE and Saudi Arabia, which together accounted for more than half of all US merchandise exports to the Arab world.

Egypt retained its position as the third largest Arab market for US goods, while Qatar and Kuwait filled out the top five importing nations.

In 2012, the UAE was the top US export partner in the Arab world, importing $22.57bn in goods from the United States, a 41.9 percent increase over 2011.

Saudi Arabia was the second largest market, importing $18.12bn in 2012, a 31 percent increase.

The data showed that Texas was the top state for Arab exports ($10.56bn, up 4 percent), followed by Washington ($8.03bn, up 48.3 percent) and California ($5.26bn, up 32.6 percent).

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