For Immediate Release: February 7, 2011
Contact: Mary Trupo (202) 482-3809
Commerce Under Secretary Francisco SÁnchez Emphasizes The Importance of U.S.-Arab Trade
WASHINGTON – At a luncheon today hosted by the National U.S.-Arab Chamber of Commerce, U.S. Commerce Department Under Secretary for International Trade Francisco Sánchez emphasized the importance of commercial cooperation and highlighted opportunities for American firms in the Middle East and North Africa.
Last year, exports from the United States to the 17 Arab countries of the Middle East totaled an estimated $48 billion.
“The countries of the Middle East and North Africa are important trading partners for the United States,” said Sanchez, who led a trade mission to Saudi Arabia late last year. “The investment and growth in the region suggests that we can build on a trading relationship already worth tens of billions of dollars to U.S. companies.
“The U.A.E., Saudi Arabia and Qatar, in particular, will continue to play a central role in our efforts to expand exports, both in terms of their own market and their position as international business hubs.”
The International Trade Administration is leading a trade mission to Saudi Arabia in April 2-5 focusing on products and services in the information technology and communication sector.
In 2009 Saudi Arabia ranked as the largest U.S. export market in the Middle East, with exports of $10.4 billion. The Saudi government plans a massive infrastructure investment of over $400 billion in the next 10 years.
The U.A.E. annually ranks as one of the top five destinations for U.S. exports in the Middle East. In 2009, the U.A.E. was our 18th-largest export market globally, and at $11.1 billion, our largest market in the Middle East.
U.S. commercial engagement with Qatar will become increasingly important in light of Qatar’s successful bid to host the 2022 World Cup. Qatar plans to spend $100 billion on transportation infrastructure projects. In the next 10 years, it is estimated that Qatar will invest over $120 billion on the development of the energy and industrial sectors and $50 billion on roads, infrastructure development, housing and real estate, health/medical and sanitation projects.In 2010, Sánchez led a number of trade missions to the region, taking 66 businesses to Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Iraq, Libya and Algeria. In Saudi Arabia, the delegates developed more than 60 sales leads, and have $25 million in pending contracts.
International Trade Administration
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