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Mon 18 Feb 2019 12:07 PM

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US firms see opportunities in UAE's knowledge economy

US-UAE Business Council President said that US firms see opportunities in AI, machine learning and fourth generation manufacturing

US firms see opportunities in UAE's knowledge economy
US-UAE Business Council President Danny Sebright.

American companies are increasingly seeking business opportunities in the UAE’s growing ‘knowledge economy’, according to Danny Sebright, the President of the US-UAE Business Council.

Speaking to Arabian Business, Sebright said that the for the last two years the council has focused on helping US companies understand the opportunities that have been created by the UAE’s long-term vision strategy.

“There’s a lot of focus in the UAE on [bringing in] high-tech capabilities in AI, machine learning, the Internet of Things and fourth generation manufacturing,” he said. “Anything in these verticals and these sectors is a big focus and a big opportunity for US companies to partner with Emirati companies and the governments in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and elsewhere in the UAE.”

Sebright added that American companies are also increasingly eyeing opportunities in the UAE’s healthcare sector – including in health sciences and pharmaceuticals – as well as in the education sector.

“[The UAE] is a great place for American companies to do business because they publish what their priorities are and they make it very transparent,” he said.

Two-way trade

Sebright noted that the total two-way trade between the two countries amounted to approximately $24.2 billion in 2017, with similar figures for 2018 expected once released later in February or early March.

“We’re not expecting a significant dip one way or the other. That’s sort of surprising when you take into account the tariffs on steel and aluminum and some other slowdowns that have occurred in some sectors,” Sebright said.

“I’m really interested to see the data when it comes out to understand where it’s taken a jump. For the numbers to be similar there had to be a significant uptick in some areas," he added.

Sebright added that, in terms of business relations, there has been no significant change during the first two years of the Trump administration.

“Business has gone on and is doing great,” he said. “It hasn’t affected the US-UAE relationship very much.”

The UAE has been America’s largest trading partner in the Middle East for nine consecutive years.