The U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council hosted the CEO Forum, a high-level business-to-government meeting of 50 senior American and Emirati government and business stakeholders on Tuesday evening in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
The meeting’s discussion, co-led by newly sworn-in U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs Charles H. Rivkin and U.A.E. Assistant Foreign Minister for Economic Affairs His Excellency Khaled Al Ghaith, covered key developments in the U.S.-U.A.E. commercial relationship and private sector issues for consideration during the fifth U.S.-U.A.E. Economic Policy Dialogue (EPD) occurring on Wednesday. The program included scene-setting remarks by U.S. Ambassador to the U.A.E. Michael H. Corbin and was moderated by U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council President Danny Sebright.
“Public-private sector discussions between leaders from the United States and United Arab Emirates is vital to cultivating deeper trade relations with America’s largest export destination in the entire Middle East North Africa region,” said Assistant Secretary Rivkin. “I look forward in my new capacity to enhancing our bilateral economic engagement and helping to strengthen private sector ties in order to create jobs and explore partnership opportunities ahead of World Expo 2020 in Dubai.”
“The U.A.E. views the United States as a key market for investment, educational and cultural exchange, and commercial partnership opportunities across numerous sectors,” said H.E. Al Ghaith. “Tonight’s CEO Forum is important because it injects comprehensive private sector input into the EPD discussion between American and Emirati government officials tasked with advancing an active bilateral government economic and trade agenda.”
The closed-door CEO Forum working dinner program included updates from key American and Emirati private and public sector stakeholders on various topics of economic importance, including: commercial partnerships in Abu Dhabi, opportunities presented by the U.A.E.’s winning bid to host World Expo 2020 in Dubai, the U.A.E.’s growing commercial aviation sector, NYU Abu Dhabi and broader progress in the U.A.E’s education sector, evolving industrial standards in the U.A.E. and Gulf Cooperation Council, and an update on economic development in the Northern Emirates.
“The business and trade relationship between the U.S. and U.A.E. is a key pillar driving bilateral innovation and vibrant economic growth,” said Ambassador Corbin.
“The focused public-private sector dialogue achieved during the CEO Forum is crucial to advancing new and traditional commercial items on the EPD agenda.”
During the CEO Forum, Sebright announced the launch of the ‘Expo 2020 U.S.-U.A.E. Standing Committee’ to streamline industry issues and communication between American and Emirati stakeholders leading up to the World Expo 2020 in Dubai. The Committee will be led by the U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council, in partnership with AmCham Abu Dhabi and ABC Dubai, and include senior executives representing sectors of interest to the U.A.E. Higher Committee for Hosting World Expo 2020.
The CEO Forum was established by the U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council in 2013 to transparently deliver business community concerns and insights to leaders charged with driving the government-to-government U.S.-U.A.E. Economic Policy Dialogue agenda forward. The CEO Forum discussion complements sector-specific white papers submitted to the State Department and U.A.E. Ministry of Foreign Affairs bi-annually for consideration by industry working groups led by the U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council, in partnership with AmCham Abu Dhabi and ABC Dubai. The next CEO Forum is set to take place ahead of the sixth U.S.-U.A.E. EPD this Fall in Washington D.C.