Dubai is a strategic trade partner to the US and enjoys a great line of communication and bilateral ties with American businesses, said Ms Penny Pritzker, US Secretary of Commerce, adding that the emirate is an extraordinary global hub and holds ample investment opportunities for American investors.
Heading a senior US executive infrastructure business development mission to Dubai, Ms Pritzker stated that American businesses can grab the opportunities that exist here, especially in the wake of the emirate’s readying to host Expo 2020. She called upon American businesses to look for cooperation ties with Dubai businesses in the infrastructure sector and to use the emirate to expand into the region.
Speaking at a reception hosted in her honour by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Monday Ms Pritzker said, “The Obama Administration values America’s friendship with the UAE and the Gulf, and we believe there are many opportunities to deepen our engagement, cooperation and partnership in a number of areas.”
She added that US businesses in particular have an important role to play in creating even more mutually-beneficial relationships between the two countries.
“The companies on my trade mission have the ideas and technical expertise to assist Dubai as it pursues its impressive plans for infrastructure and energy development, and they understand that working together is a win-win. When US firms sell their goods and services to new markets, the American economy stands to gain. I hope this trade mission will lead to many more mutually-beneficial relationships between our two nations.”
The meeting was attended by representatives of Dubai Foreign Direct Investment, Roads and Transport Authority, Dubai Drydocks and Maritime World, EMAAR, DP World, and Dubai Aviation City Corporation who presented their important projects and current and future plans of growth in front of the delegates representing 21 major US companies.
H.E. Hisham Al Shirawi, 2nd Vice Chairman, Dubai Chamber welcomed the delegation and said the visit would help further strengthen bilateral relations between Dubai and the US. “America ranks as Dubai’s 3rd largest trade partner globally and the non-oil trade between them was AED 86 billion last year while over the past decade the total of the non-oil trade increased by 500%, which is an incredible amount, said H.E. Al Shirawi.
He further said that currently there are 1,285 US companies registered with Dubai Chamber and operating in the emirate while the Chamber received 13 US delegations last year, assuring the visiting delegation of the Chamber’s support to set up businesses in Dubai’s various lucrative economic sectors.
In his presentation on Dubai’s Economic Outlook and Synergies between US and Dubai’s Infrastructure Sector, H.E. Hamad Buamim, President and CEO, Dubai Chamber, said that last year the emirate witnessed its best growth in the last five years at the back of the strong performance of its leading economic sectors as the inflation rate was less than 2% and the GDP growth was 5%.
He pointed out that major global economic indicators confirm the competitiveness of the UAE and Dubai as trade was the largest contributor to the emirate’s economy last year while the GDP share was 30%.
Shedding light on the performance of the tourism and hospitality sectors, H.E. Buamim said that Dubai received 11 million tourists with a 10% increase last year from the 7 million five years ago while the addition of 10,000 new hotel rooms took the total to 84,000 with 534 hotels and occupancy rates of 80% which clearly reflects on Dubai’s status as a popular tourist destination.
He also informed that the Dubai International Airport has become the second most busiest international hub in the world after London with 66.4 million passengers showing a growth of 15% while the volume of cargo touched 2.44 million tons with a growth of 7% and the Duty Free registered USD 1.8 billion sales, with a growth rate of 12%, making it the largest duty free market in the world.
Speaking about the future drivers of the emirate’s economic growth, H.E. Buamim said that Islamic Economy and Expo 2020 will play a major role in the presence of over 1.6 billion global Muslims whose numbers will increase to 2 billion while the Expo, during its six months, is expected to attract 25 million visitors and create in excess of 277,000 jobs while $23 billion is set to be added between 2015 and 2021 and the widespread spending planned for Expo presents opportunities for international businesses.
He called upon American businesses to invest in Dubai’s trade, tourism, financial services, education and green technology sectors while highlighting the presence of eight direct flights between Dubai and the U.S. cities which he said will help in the development of joint investments between the two sides.
The delegation included representatives of leading American companies including General Electric Company, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, The Dow Chemical Company, C3 Energy, AECOM Technology Corporation, Ghafari Associates, Greeley and Hansen, Michael Baker International, Rapiscan Systems and Zero Waste Energy.