Assistant Secretary of Commerce Shares U.S. Trade, Investment, and Policy Priorities for U.A.E.


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Assistant Secretary of Commerce Shares U.S. Trade, Investment, and Policy Priorities for U.A.E.
(Left) Arun Venkataraman, U.S. Department of Commerce Assistant Secretary for Global Markets and Director General of the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service and (right) Danny Sebright, President of the U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council

The U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council hosted a luncheon discussion on Tuesday March 21st with Arun Venkataraman, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Global Markets and Director General of the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service. Assistant Secretary Venkataraman shared insights into his recent visits to the U.A.E. and discussed the Department of Commerce’s priorities for deepening the U.S.-U.A.E. trade and commercial relationship. 

Assistant Secretary Venkataraman discussed the recently released data on U.S.-U.A.E. bilateral trade, which totaled $27.8 billion in 2022, continuing the U.A.E.’s status as the largest export destination for U.S. goods and services across the Middle East for the fourteenth consecutive year. Assistant Secretary Venkataraman emphasized the value of this relationship for U.S. businesses and jobs. He noted specific areas with opportunity for growth in U.S.-U.A.E. trade, especially in the health care, digital economy, and clean energy sectors. The Assistant Secretary expressed appreciation for the aligned interests of the U.S. and the U.A.E., underscoring the importance of business, trade, and investment as the core strengths of the overall bilateral relationship.

Assistant Secretary Venkataraman discussed the sustained engagement between his office, the relevant U.A.E. authorities, and the business community on developing U.A.E. digital policies that enhance bilateral business and investment. He lauded the U.A.E.’s collaboration with industry on these policies, saying that there is “not just an openness, but an eagerness to engage.” The Assistant Secretary described the role of his office and the priorities within the Biden Administration for assisting U.S. companies in growing their business abroad. He welcomed greater U.S. business engagement with his team and emphasized that these services are available and are paid for by U.S. taxpayers. 

Turning to areas of international collaboration, Assistant Secretary Venkataraman praised the opportunities created by the Abraham Accords and highlighted U.A.E. efforts to help create international multilateral partnerships, such as the I2U2. The Assistant Secretary emphasized that U.S. business is already quite successful in these markets, but that there is still opportunity for partnership in multilateral projects that address critical local and global needs and provide real economic growth. 

With China’s role in the Middle East expanding both economically and politically, the Assistant Secretary spoke about the U.S. government’s concerns regarding certain aspects of Chinese economic and trade activity in the Middle East region, including their support of untrusted vendors. He emphasized that the goal for the United States is to create a level playing field for U.S. companies, who almost always win out when they compete in a fair and transparent business environment. 

Assistant Secretary Venkataraman shared insights into the work being done by the U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. government more broadly to support the U.A.E. as it prepares to host COP28 in November. He discussed the importance of public-private partnerships in making this COP successful by developing and implementing models for sustainable business practices that continue after the conference. The Assistant Secretary praised the U.A.E. for hosting a COP that is inclusive of all stakeholders. To this point, he was emphatic that global climate change challenges will never fully be addressed unless business has a seat at the table and is part of the solution. 

For more information about this event, please contact Alyssa Kristeller at