AmCham Abu Dhabi’s U.S. Public Affairs Committee and the U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council hosted U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Ambassador Anne W. Patterson for lunch on Thursday, March 27 in Washington, D.C. The event, hosted in conjunction with the Middle East Council of American Chambers of Commerce (MECACC) visit to advocate on behalf of American business abroad, brought together senior U.S. and U.A.E. business executives, government officials, and think-tank leaders for the closed-door discussion.
After a scene-setting introduction from AmCham Abu Dhabi U.S. Public Affairs Committee Chair Tracy Lavin and U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council President Danny Sebright, Assistant Secretary Patterson took the stage to provide her keynote remarks. Before delivering her speech, Patterson applauded the visiting delegation of American business executives in D.C. from their countries of residence across the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region. In doing so, she noted the importance of promoting strong business community ties to support the cultivation and development of government-to-government interaction in each nation.
During her keynote speech, Patterson outlined U.S. policy towards the U.A.E. and a number of other key countries in MENA that fall under her portfolio and presented a status update on the policy, political, and economic state of affairs from her perspective at the State Department. She pointed to her recent tenure as the U.S. Ambassador to Egypt and career in the Foreign Service in order to convey to the business representatives in attendance her views of the sweeping changes the MENA political landscape has experienced in the last few years. As she spoke, Patterson underscored the strong, multi-dimensional ties that exist between the U.S. and United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) and highlighted the relationship as a benchmark for expanded U.S. economic and trade engagement in the region.
Patterson went on to discuss her views on the “American value proposition” presented by promoting and expanding export, trade, and business relations with MENA countries, citing a growing entrepreneurial spirit, large youth population, and desire in the region for increased global engagement as cornerstones of opportunity for U.S. partnership.
Following Patterson’s remarks, the floor was opened to questions from public and private sector stakeholders in the audience. Throughout the question and answer session, Patterson engaged with guests on matters relating to U.S. foreign policy towards MENA, State Department business and economic engagement in the region, and opportunities for increased commercial and public-private partnerships.
Sebright and Lavin concluded the event by thanking Ambassador Patterson for her remarks and the audience for joining in the discussion.