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UAE FDI to US Reaches to $4.5 Billion

The United States received more foreign direct investment from the UAE — which almost doubled to $4.5 billion at the end of year 2006 over $2.5 billion during the previous year — as world's largest economy still see strong interest from Arab investors, said David Bohigian, assistant secretary, US Department of Commerce.

The US Commerce Department official was in Abu Dhabi, yesterday, to meet public and private sector officials for discussing bilateral relations in the field of investment and commerce.

He told reporters that the US will start negotiations with the UAE on the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) early next year, on which both the nations are currently focusing their attention.

He hoped the TIFA would be a stepping stone to potential free trade agreement with the UAE.

Bohigian said that President George Bush announced that the Free Trade Agreement with Middle East will be concluded by 2013. "We have already concluded FTAs with Bahrain and Oman, while constructive dialogue has started with the UAE," he said.

Asked about the contentious issues hampering the FTA negotiations, the US official said that his nation has gold standard comprehensive free trade agreement with various partners throughout the world which deal with issues relating to investments and all sectors of economy along with energy.

Bohigian said in order to boost investments from Middle East, US Congress has recently passed a bill on FDI that will provide greater transparency to the screening process. Already 95 per cent of the FDI deals does not go through national security screening, he added.

Regarding the Middle East FDI position in the United States, he said it has enlarged to $17 billion at the end of 2006 comparing with $9 billion during the previous year, showing a massive expansion.

Speaking about US investments in the Middle East, he said that during 2006, investments made by the US firms grew to $27 billion from $21 billion. via Khaleej Times

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