Economic Partnership with UAE Creates Jobs, New Opportunities for US Businesses

With one of the most open and innovative economies in the world, the United Arab Emirates is a significant economic partner of the United States.

The UAE has been the US’ largest export market in the Middle East for eight consecutive years. The UAE also has trade relations with every state in the United States, as well as with the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. UAE trade and investment supports hundreds of thousands of American jobs. Business partnerships continue to spur economic development in both countries across an array of industries.

“The U.A.E. is now America’s largest source of foreign investment from the Arab World. While these trade statistics are impressive, what I find more impressive is the depth and breadth of the relationship. The UAE currently trades with all 50 states, and this trade creates ties and binds across numerous sectors.”

Barbara Leaf, US Ambassador to the UAE

Today, there are more than 1,500 US firms present in the United Arab Emirates. With no corporate or income taxes, a stable currency pegged to the US dollar, and world-class infrastructure, the UAE has emerged as one of the top destinations in the world for US businesses.

UAE Investments Drive US Economy and Jobs

As a major investor in the United States for more than 30 years, the UAE is a dependable contributor to the US economy, providing growth for US companies and creating hundreds of thousands of jobs for Americans. Emirati Foreign Direct Investment in the US totaled more than $26 billion in 2016, supporting growth in financial services, transportation, real estate, and energy.

Mubadala Technology’s investment of $6 billion in California-based GlobalFoundries, currently the second-largest semiconductor chipmaker in the world, supports more than 7,000 jobs in the Northeast US.

UAE-based Gulftainer has signed a 35-year agreement to operate a container and cargo terminal at Port Canaveral in Florida. With an investment of up to $100 million, Gulftainer’s operations in Florida are expected to create about 2,000 direct and indirect jobs when fully operational.

In addition, Dubai World partnered with MGM Mirage to develop CityCenter in Las Vegas, a mixed-use complex of hotels, residences, and casinos that opened in 2009. As one of the largest privately funded construction projects in the history of the US, CityCenter created more than 12,000 jobs in Las Vegas.

A Diversified Economy

Since the discovery of oil in the UAE, the country has transformed into a dynamic, modern country with an open and diversified economy. Government policies to develop the economy sustainably have contributed to growth in finance, logistics, tourism, manufacturing, trade, and aviation.

Dubai International Airport, ranked the world’s busiest airport for international passengers, connects more than 100 million passengers to 240 plus destinations. The UAE is also a major shipping hub – home to Jebel Ali, one of the top ten international container ports.

The UAE has also developed a domestic manufacturing industry and is today the fifth largest aluminum producer in the world. Partnering with aircraft manufacturers, including Boeing, the UAE established Strata, a UAE-based manufacturing facility that produces high quality component aircraft products for aircraft manufacturers. A wholly owned subsidiary of Mubadala, Strata has contributed to the development of the next generation of commercial aircrafts.

As part of its efforts to advance the aerospace sector, the UAE has also set its sights on space. Through close collaboration with NASA and US aerospace companies, the UAE is training the next generation of scientists, engineers, and space explorers. The Emirates Mars probe, expected to launch in July 2020, will propel the UAE into space as the first Arab nation to launch a mission to Mars.

In recent years, the country has focused on renewable energy, announcing plans to invest $163 billion in projects that will help generate half of the country’s power needs from renewable sources. The UAE has taken the lead in the region to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, build capabilities in clean energy, and optimize the use of natural resources. In 2013, the UAE opened the world’s largest concentrated solar power plant.

Looking ahead, the UAE is preparing for Expo 2020, the first World Expo to be held in the Middle East, Africa, or South Asia. With 25 million expected visitors from around the world, Dubai has announced a series of partnerships with companies to advance construction, infrastructure, and logistics projects related to Expo 2020. For example, Expo 2020 has teamed up with Accenture to create a seamless digital experience for visitors. UPS will manage all logistics operations for the event. Once fully developed, the site of Expo 2020 is expected to be home to 500,000 jobs.
These successful efforts to diversify and drive private sector growth have reduced the percentage of GDP based on oil and gas to nearly 30 percent.

An Ideal Location to Reach New Markets

In addition to market opportunities in a range of industries, free zones have played a significant role in attracting US companies to the UAE. Offering 100 percent foreign ownership and zero taxes, the country’s 35+ free zones provide a friendly regulatory and taxation environment. Today, eight of the world’s top economic free zones are based in the UAE.

Companies such as Apple, Boeing, Cleveland Clinic, Federal Express, General Electric, Lockheed Martin, and Microsoft maintain significant businesses in the Emirates. Last year, DC-based startup incubator 1776 opened its first international office in Dubai.

“Across the board, I’m very encouraged by the development in the US-UAE business relationship during the last eight years. Since 2008, trade has increased by more than 400 per cent and the UAE has become one of the United States’ largest sources of foreign direct investment.”

Yousef Al-Otaiba, UAE Ambassador to the US

Several US companies have established regional headquarters in the UAE, using the country’s strategic geographic location between East and West to conduct business throughout the Middle East, North Africa, and parts of Asia. With global logistics and trade capabilities, the UAE has emerged as a major trade hub. US companies with headquarters in the UAE are ideally placed to access some of the world’s fastest growing and most lucrative global markets.

In addition to existing opportunities in the defense, renewable energy, infrastructure, transportation, and technology industries, US businesses are also expected to participate in Expo 2020 in Dubai. It will offer US businesses, including small and medium-sized enterprises, an unparalleled global platform to showcase their latest products and services to an international audience and build new partnerships.