Under Secretary Fernandez Highlights Potential of I2U2 Initiative, Praises New “I2U2 Business Coalition”


Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
(L) Under Secretary of State Jose W. Fernandez and (R) U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council President Danny Sebright

The U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council hosted a conversation on Wednesday April 19th with Jose W. Fernandez, Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment. Under Secretary Fernandez discussed the tremendous potential of the I2U2 Initiative, as well as shared insights on U.S. government efforts to promote the energy transition and supply chain security. This conversation was followed by the announcement of a new business coalition to help the private sector leverage the I2U2 Initiative.

Under Secretary Jose W. Fernandez is the U.S. government champion of the I2U2 Initiative, and he led the United States’ participation in the inaugural I2U2 Business Forum in February in Abu Dhabi. This forum brought together government officials and private sector representatives from the four member countries – India, Israel, the U.A.E. and the United States — to discuss tangible and sustainable cooperation opportunities. At the Business Council’s event on April 19th, Under Secretary Fernandez provided highlights from bilateral meetings he held during his trip to Abu Dhabi and shared his views of areas to grow the economic relationship between the U.A.E. and the United States. He spoke at length about the potential of the I2U2 Initiative to leverage the resources and talent within the four countries to tackle transnational challenges and spur innovation and research in the six key areas of focus. He examined the initiatives’ background, goals, and key outcomes thus far, and emphasized the opportunities for business to get involved.

Under Secretary Fernandez highlighted the U.A.E.’s efforts to play a leading global role in energy transition, particularly in advance of COP28. He lauded the potential of the Mineral Security Partnerships to aid in the energy transition.

Finally, Under Secretary Fernandez briefly touched upon the Economic Policy Dialogue between the U.S. and the U.A.E. He stressed the importance of private sector input and feedback ahead of these sessions and the significance of the annual EPD for progressing the bilateral economic relationship.

From L to R: Danny Sebright, President, U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council; H.E. Sripriya Ranganathan, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of India in Washington, D.C.; Mr. Eliav Benjamin, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of Israel in Washington, D.C.; H.E. Yousef Al Otaiba, Ambassador, Embassy of the U.A.E. in Washington, D.C.; Jose W. Fernandez, Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment, U.S. Department of State

Following the fireside chat with Under Secretary Fernandez, a special announcement was made about a new partnership in support of the I2U2 Initiative. The UAE-India Business Council, the UAE-Israel Business Council, and the U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to create the I2U2 Business Coalition to promote the I2U2 Initiative and garner private sector support for this new economic partnership among India, Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States. “I commend your work on this MOU. There are clear synergies here and I encourage businesses to engage on I2U2 projects.” – Under Secretary Jose W. Fernandez.

Along with Under Secretary Fernandez, this announcement was made in the presence of the Indian Deputy Chief of Mission to the United States, Her Excellency Sripriya Ranganathan, the Israeli Deputy Chief of Mission to the United States, Mr. Eliav Benjamin, and the U.A.E. Ambassador to the United States, His Excellency Yousef Al Otaiba.

This MOU is an agreement among the councils to draw greater awareness to the potential of the I2U2 initiative, particularly in the six key sectors of focus, namely water, energy, transportation, space, health, and food security. Moreover, it seeks to mobilize and energize the private sectors in the four countries to identify, promote, and support specific projects in line with the goals of this initiative.

Specifically, the parties agreed to, among other things:

  • Convene a series of events in India, Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States with key government officials to draw attention to the I2U2 initiative and bring greater awareness to its potential for the business community in each of the four countries.
  • Convene a series of virtual working group meetings of key businesses in those sectors that are of particular focus for the I2U2 initiative: food security, energy, water, space, transport, health, and technology. 
  • Publish a series of studies and white papers by leading American, Emirati, Indian, and Israeli think tanks, scholars, and thought leaders about the potential for I2U2. 
  • Create a series of video interviews about the I2U2 initiative that can be jointly shared on their platforms.

For more information about this event, please contact Amira Siddiqi at asiddiqi@usuaebusiness.org.