Washington DC – U.S.-Middle East Free Trade Coalition Steering Committee members CMS Energy and The Herman Group today testified in support of the United States-United Arab Emirates Free Trade Agreement. Appearing before the Trade Policy Staff Committee of the United States Trade Representative, representatives of both companies strongly endorsed this potential agreement as a key step in promoting economic reforms and creating economic opportunities in the region.
“Representing a leading investor in the United Arab Emirates, I know this agreement will encourage reforms, create economic opportunities for U.S. businesses and workers and generate quality employment opportunities for Emiratis,” said David G. Mengebier, Senior Vice President for Governmental Affairs for CMS Energy, a Steering Committee member of the U.S.-Middle East Free Trade Coalition, and a Co-Chair of the U.S.-UAE Free Trade Agreement Task Force. “These economic opportunities are a key step in building momentum for trade liberalization in the region and will have a positive long-term impact on the people of UAE,” added Mengebier.
“The U.S.-UAE FTA will promote a predictable investment climate, fostering foreign investment in new, emerging industries including tourism, financial services and retail,” said Teddie Garrigan, Executive Vice President and Chief Strategic Officer of The Herman Group of Companies, a Steering Committee member of the US-Middle East Free Trade Coalition, and a Co-Chair of the U.S.-UAE Free Trade Agreement Task Force. “Open markets will encourage the Emirati government to continue its path of political and social progress and promote those ideals throughout the region,” added Garrigan.
*The UAE is the U.S. ‘ s third largest trading partner in the region and is home to Jebel Ali, the third busiest port in the world, presenting significant opportunities for exporters, manufacturers and services firms.
*U.S. goods exports to the UAE in 2003 were $3.5 billion, including machinery, aircraft, vehicles, electrical machinery and optic and medical instruments. U.S. exports of agriculture products to the UAE totaled $259 million in 2003, including live animals and tree nuts.
The Free Trade Agreement with UAE will help advance market-oriented economic reforms and will help to demonstrate to other Middle Eastern nations the important benefits of trade liberalization.
In November 2004, the United States Trade Representative announced the beginning of negotiations with UAE, as part of the Middle East Free Trade Area Initiative. The United States has recently signed an FTA with Bahrain, which is now awaiting Congressional approval. Additional Middle East Free Trade Area agreements are in place between the United States and Israel, Jordan and Morocco.