For the last seven years, the United Arab Emirates has been the United States’ most significant bilateral trading partner in the Middle East region, a commercial relationship that Yousef Al Otaiba, UAE Ambassador to the United States, would like to cement. As Ambassador Al Otaiba discusses economic cooperation between the UAE and the US, he points to prominent US businesses and healthcare institutions which are already taking advantage of the UAE’s world-class infrastructure, rapidly growing economy and strategic location. The Cleveland Clinic, Starbucks, Northrop Grumman and numerous other companies have offices or headquarters in Dubai or Abu Dhabi, nevertheless, Ambassador Al Otaiba expects more aeronautics companies to join the already 1,500 US companies and organizations in the UAE as the UAE space program intends to launch an Emirates Mars Mission in 2020.
Beyond trade ties, the UAE’s sovereign wealth fund allows for investments in foreign countries, with the United States as one of the primary beneficiaries. From his time at Georgetown University to his life here since 2008, Ambassador Al Otaiba is quite knowledgeable about how businesses in the US depend on foreign capital to create new jobs and spur innovation. The UAE has invested in include technology manufacturing and real estate in the US, including a UAE company’s purchase of semiconductor chip manufacturing plants, which supports 5,000 US jobs.
Defense companies will continue to find opportunities to export to the UAE, as partnerships with Boeing and Lockheed Martin create high-paying, skilled jobs for US workers. However, the expanding relationship between the two countries is especially evident in New York City, where the UAE Consulate opened in 2016, the second in the US. As one of the major exporting states to the UAE, thousands of jobs are created at automobile plants, the port and more.
Ambassador Al Otaiba favorably compares the US and UAE economies, saying both are strong and reward entrepreneurship and innovation. Viewing more air travel between the two countries as encouraging, the ambassador expects the tourism industry to flourish in both nations. He also expects opportunities to arise in the healthcare sector, with investments in both nations, including the opening of the Sheikh Zayed Building for Personalized Cancer Care at the University of Texas earlier this year, which encourages goodwill and drives economic development between the US and the UAE.