As the world continues to emerge from the global economic downturn, one financial relationship is getting stronger and stronger.
In 2012, the U.S. was ranked the number one direct investor in Dubai, the most heavily populated of the seven Emirates that make up the UAE. Indeed, around 24% of Dubai’s non-oil foreign trade was with the US in 2012.
The ties between the two locations have grown steadily in recent years and the latest figures show that around 1,230 American companies now have a base in Dubai, helped by the fact that business banking in the area has become much easier in recent years with the arrival of several global financial institutions to the UAE.
Just this month it was announced that US pizza chain Papa Murphy is to open its first Dubai-based branch, with at least 50 more planned for the UAE over the next ten years.
As part of this growing relationship between the US and the UAE, the Emirates have seen a number of US trade missions in recent months, including a visit by the State of Illinois – itself among the 20 biggest economies in the world – earlier this month. Congressman Danny K Davis was part of this delegation in early September.
He said: “We are tremendously impressed with this region and have seen numerous areas that Illinois and the UAE can collaborate on, including rail infrastructure, healthcare, renewable energy and education.”
This event was sponsored by Etihad Airlines as the first air carrier to fly between Chicago and the Arab Gulf. Emirates Airlines also now fly between the nations and these developments led to more than two million Americans travelling through Dubai airport in 2012.
Indeed, with the increase in American companies doing business in the UAE, it is thought that around 50,000 US citizens now call the Emirates home and this looks set to grow as more companies develop bases in the region.
US Consul General to Dubai Rob Waller also recently led a trade delegation to Dubai where he and other officials were hosted by Mr Ahmed Butti Ahmed, Executive Chairman of Ports, Customs, and Free Zone Corporation, Director General of Dubai Customs.
Commenting on the importance of the growing relationship, Mr Butti said: “The US business sector in Dubai is always strengthening its presence through the expansion of its investments in the local market.
There are 1,230 US companies operating in Dubai, representing various fields, such as banking, services, health, energy, transportation, aviation and technology, and that reflects the level of trust in Dubai’s economy and its ability to keep on growing as a result of the sound vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai.”
Central to this growth is the area’s continued investment in infrastructure, including the building of the world’s largest manmade harbour, and a liberal import/export tax regime. Changes in business ownership rules also now mean that companies in the UAE can be 100% foreign-owned whereas previously it was just 49%.