Industry Leaders and Economic Policy Dialogue Delegates Discuss Building on Policy Successes of Past Year


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On behalf of the U.S. and U.A.E. governments, the U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council hosted the annual Economic Policy Dialogue industry roundtable in Washington D.C. on Monday, June 7th 2021. This hybrid event allowed industry representatives from the U.S. and the U.A.E. to engage with government officials ahead of official bilateral U.S.-U.A.E. Economic Policy Dialogue (EPD) meetings taking place on Tuesday, June 8th 2021.
The U.S. delegation, led by Dan Benaim, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Near East Affairs at the U.S. Department of State and Matt Murray, Deputy Assistant Secretary at the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, outlined the significant progress made in the commercial relationship in the past year, including the removal of the U.A.E. from the U.S. Section 301 Intellectual Property Watch List and the signing of the Abraham Accords. DAS Benaim noted that, “we have seen in the last year how we can be a transformative force together,” and that “it is a special privilege to celebrate our mutual achievements.”
The U.A.E. delegation lead, His Excellency Abdulnasser Al Shaali, Assistant Minister of Economic and Trade Affairs at the U.A.E. Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, echoed these sentiments and reiterated the U.A.E.’s commitment to creating a favorable business environment for U.S. companies operating in the U.A.E.. He explained that just as economic reforms are opening doors for businesses, so too is critical dialogue between industry and government. H.E. Al Shaali expressed optimism for the future trajectory of the bilateral partnership, stating that with platforms such as the EPD, “the relationship will always continue to grow further and stronger into the future.”
Afshin Molavi, Senior Fellow at the Foreign Policy Institute at Johns Hopkins SAIS, detailed U.S.-China competition and its implications for businesses in the Middle East. Shaima Gargash, Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.A.E. Embassy in Washington D.C., then discussed women’s empowerment in the U.A.E., noting the many mechanisms in place to advance opportunities for women and female-led businesses. Other topics of discussion included the success of bilateral dialogue on intellectual property protection with the U.S. Commerce Department’s Peter Mehravari giving a special briefing on the successful removal of the U.A.E. from the U.S. Section 301 Watch List. Ensuing discussion also focused on the U.A.E.’s economic development and social reform program, the U.A.E.’s digital goals and objectives, and Expo 2020 Dubai.
This luncheon marked the Business Council’s first in-person event in the U.S. since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. The event’s hybrid model allowed for U.S.-based representatives to attend in-person while others tuned in from across the world. The Business Council looks forward to continuing the transition back to in-person events, allowing for a higher level of business engagement and interaction.
Please contact Mary Zuccarello at should you have any questions regarding Business Council programming.