View of part of the Fujairah Corniche and the Hajar Mountains in the Background

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

UAE Selling Points

Since several American lawmakers last year torpedoed the bid by Dubai Ports to take over six US ports there has been a re-warming of US-UAE relationships.

It was evident in this last week when President George W Bush entertained the UAE Foreign Minister, Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan at the White House.

Then the next day American CEOs stampeded to Washington DC to listen to the Sheikh and his colleagues do a UAE business presentation. After the obvious attraction of a country with rich oil stocks here are the chief sound bytes that were highlighted in the spiel:

* The pro-business stance of the UAE government
* The lack of corporate tax
* ‘There is no red tape’
* Efficient place for US companies to open a Middle East base
* Location! Location! Location!—located between east and west
* ‘The perfect hub’ situated at a strategic gateway
* Impressive infrastructure of highways, airports and harbors
* ‘Thriving tourism destination’
* Universal Studios is creating a $2.18 billion theme park in Dubai
* Nicklelodeon, the US children’s television network is planning a theme park

The sales pitch is working. Oil giant Halliburton is moving its headquarters to Dubai. Large companies like Cisco, Citigroup, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Microsoft and Oracle are looking for big revenues in the UAE.

There is a widespread loathing in the UAE of the USA’s involvement in Iraq and its tendency to act as global sheriff but this does not appear to be affecting the strengthening of trade ties and the development of business.

Geoff Pound

Image: Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.