US firms invest in UAE logistics despite Trump rhetoric
Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza), the UAE’s flagship trade and logistics hub for the wider Middle East region, recently organised a roadshow in Seattle, USA attended by over 40 businesses aimed at attracting American companies to invest in Dubai.
The roadshow introduced Dubai as the industrial and manufacturing hub of the region, highlighting the emirate’s Industrial Strategy launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and the Ruler of Dubai, and the incentives on offer at Jafza to manufacturing companies.
Over the years, Jafza has been the preferred destination of US companies for their expansion in the region and has developed close business relations with US organisations, the freezone said in a statement.
The UAE is the United State’s largest trading partner in the Middle East reflecting the strong economic relationships between the two nations.
“Jafza-US trade has grown at the rate of 37% over the past five years,” said Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, group chairman and CEO of DP World and chairman of Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation. “The U.S. ranks in the top five in trade with Jafza and sixth in terms of the number of companies employing more than 10,000 people.”
According to figures released by the Statistics Center of the U.S. Department of Commerce, trade between the UAE and the United States during the first half of this year reached $12.84 billion, compared with $11.9 billion over the same period in 2015. U.S. trade with the UAE stood at about 33.5% of the total trade with GCC nations.
Over 400 US companies are based in Jafza, including some of the Fortune 500 companies from a range of sectors such as General Motors, HP, Dow Chemicals, Ford, General Electric, Caterpillar, FedEx, Schlumberger, P&G and Johnson & Johnson.
During the roadshow, Jafza also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Trade Development Alliance Greater Seattle to encourage trade relations between the two cities and organisations in the presence of the Abdulla Alsaboosi, consul general of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in Los Angeles and Saud Al Nowais, commercial counselor, Embassy of the UAE in Washington.
The Seminar was supported by the Seattle Metro Chamber of Commerce and Trade Development Alliance Greater Seattle, the US-USE Business Council, The Embassy of USA in Washington DC and the UAE Consulate in Los Angeles.
“Jafza operates in line with the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and the Ruler of Dubai, to develop a business environment that encourages the growth and prosperity of companies in the free zone,” added Sulayem.
“Jafza provides modern infrastructure and facilitates free trade and investment opportunities reinforcing Dubai’s position as a global business hub serving more than two billion consumers around the world,” he said.
“Jafza aims to attract companies that add value to the local economy and the region while increasing their revenues through the re-export of their products to various regional markets.”
“Dubai’s state-of-the-art infrastructure and integrated business community caters to trade and logistics in the entire Middle Eastern region. Jafza is a prominent logistical and manufacturing hub attracting multinationals from around the world, including the U.S,” said Ibrahim Mohammed Al Janahi, deputy CEO and chief commercial officer at Jafza.
The roadshow comes just weeks after US Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump singled out Dubai International Airport as a “fantastic” piece of infrastructure during the first US presidential debates.
Despite his praise for the logistics infrastructure of Dubai, the presidential hopeful has also called for a blanket ban on all Muslims entering the US. The policy suggestion was internationally condemned. During the same debate, Donald Trump also signalled that he would seek to punish US companies investing overseas.
The roadshow held by Jafza does not appear to have been held influenced at all by these remarks, but highlights America’s healthy appetite for Middle East investment despite the current political climate.