The United Arab Emirates recognizes the importance of intellectual property (IP) protection to realizing its National Vision 2021, which calls for the creation of a competitive knowledge-based economy with best-in-class services for its citizens. IP protection fosters innovation and ingenuity while encouraging research and development. Moreover, it creates a propitious environment for foreign direct investment (FDI).
In keeping with the above, the U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council has worked diligently with the U.A.E. Government, U.S. Government, and private sector entities in both countries to help address outstanding concerns in the U.A.E.’s intellectual property regime, whether related to the protection of innovative pharmaceutical products, the destruction of counterfeit goods, or the licensing of copyrights and payment of royalties. The U.A.E. has made significant progress in addressing concerns, and was removed from the USTR Annual Special 301 Watch List in 2021.
One particular focus of Business Council programming has been the protection of IP in the life sciences. Working together with its member companies, the Business Council has been a strong advocate for protection of U.S. intellectual property in this field and has raised the issue with both the U.S. and U.A.E. governments through private meetings and discussions, official correspondence and letters, and a wide variety of events, such as the Council’s Economic Policy Dialogue (EPD) dinner and follow-up discussions with the Office of the United States Trade Representative.
Another focus of the Council has been combatting counterfeit goods, which not only harm innovators but can also harm consumers. For instance, the Business Council has supported U.A.E. government efforts to crack down on the smuggling of illicit cigarettes, which can have detrimental health consequences for U.A.E. consumers as well as harm legitimate businesses, fund nefarious entities, and reduce U.A.E. tax revenue.
A final area of Council programming is the protection of U.S. technology, particularly in the defense space. Through activities such as its roundtable discussion with Heidi Grant, Director of the Defense Technology Security Administration (DTSA), the Business Council has supported dialogue on technology security protocols that could elevate the level at which the U.S. can share and co-develop sensitive technologies with the U.A.E. while simultaneously protecting technologies that are vital to U.S. national security.