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Thu 20 Jun 2019 08:10 AM

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President Trump 'really popular' in Gulf, says top Washington lobbyist

Attorney, DC lobbyist and staunch Republican Aaron Cutler said he believes that US expats in the region should not expect changes to tax policy for Americans overseas

President Trump 'really popular' in Gulf, says top Washington lobbyist

US President Donald Trump is “really popular” among GCC leaders, largely due to his stance on Iran, according to attorney and Washington lobbyist Aaron Cutler.

Now a partner at international law firm Hogan Lowell, Cutler previously held a number of posts in Washington, including as a senior advisor for policy and outreach for former House majority leader Eric Cantor.

He now lobbies on behalf of global businesses in Washington DC.

In an interview with Arabian Business, Cutler said that he believes that Trump is extremely popular among the leadership of GCC countries for his policies towards Iran and his reversal of the Obama administration’s thawing of relations with the Iranian government.

“They hate the leadership of Iran here [in the region] and they weren’t happy with President Obama cutting deals [the Iran nuclear deal] without consulting everybody and coming to a sort of consensus,” Cutler said.

Last year, the Trump administration withdrew from the landmark nuclear deal, and has since re-imposed sanctions and shifted troops to the region, putting military and economic pressure on Iran. It has also forced US allies to stop purchasing Iranian oil.

“President Trump is standing up to Iran and I think the rest of the region really respects that and appreciates that,” Cutler added.

Additionally, Cutler said that President Trump is “very engaged” in the region, as starkly highlighted by the fact that Trump’s first foreign trip in May 2017 was to Saudi Arabia.

“That sent a strong signal to the region that this part of the world will be vital to him,” he added.

Americans Abroad

In the UAE, American expatriates from both sides of the political spectrum have long decried the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act – or FATCA - which mandates that American citizens living abroad pay taxes both to their country of residency and to the US government.

Many expats, particularly on the Republican side, have instead called for ‘territorial taxation for individuals (TTI) – for US citizens.

Cutler, for his part, said he does not believe US expats should expect a chance to the taxation policy anytime soon.

“I would think that security and the growth of the US economy would be what motivates people [living in the Gulf], and the fact that the Trump administration is really committed to this region.”

“The safety and security of that should motivate them to vote,” he added. “And vote Republican.”