Discriminating Against UAE Would Damage Long Term U.S. Interests
Washington, DC – The National Foreign Trade Council supports the decision of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) to permit transfer in management of six U.S. port cargo operations from a British company to Dubai Ports World, a company headquartered in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
“Nobody cares about the security of our critical infrastructure more than the business community, as it is our lifeline to international trade. However, the real issues surrounding port security are related to the proper selection of personnel at the ports and proper procedures for inspecting cargo, which necessarily involves close cooperation with the Department of Homeland Security,” said Bill Reinsch, President of NFTC.
“The President has pointed out quite correctly that the UAE has been an ally in the war against terrorism and has cooperated with the Department of Homeland Security on port security issues. In any event, Customs and Border Protection and the Coast Guard are in charge of safeguarding the ports, not the company managing cargo operations,” he continued.
NFTC is particularly disappointed by the call of some in Congress for legislation to prohibit foreign companies from owning port management operations, an impractical suggestion. Many U.S. ports are currently managed by foreign companies, including 90% of America’s west coast port facilities.
“If cooperation and improved relations with the Middle East is our goal, singling out the UAE will send exactly the wrong signal to the region,” Reinsch continued. “It will make it much more difficult for the President to achieve his foreign policy goals and do further damage to the U.S. image in the Middle East, and it runs directly counter to the idea that open trade and global economic engagement are good things.”
The NFTC has supported the President’s proposal to establish a Middle East Free Trade Agreement (MEFTA), in the belief that increased economic ties with the U.S. will lead to jobs and economic growth in the region, which in turn will help the cause of lasting peace.
“It’s time for cooler heads to prevail. If Congress succeeds in blocking this acquisition, it will set back progress on our economic and political goals there for some time. Moreover, our leadership in opening markets will be less credible in important forums like the WTO,” Reinsch concluded.
The National Foreign Trade Council (www.nftc.org) is a leading business organization advocating an open, rules-based global trading system. Founded in 1914 by a broad-based group of American companies, the NFTC now serves hundreds of member companies through its offices in Washington and New York.