U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council Sets 2012 Agenda, Holds Events in Los Angeles

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Bilateral trade council holds board meeting, luncheon, and evening reception in California

The U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council held its 2011 Board of Directors’ meeting at the SLS Hotel at Beverly Hills in Los Angeles on Thursday, October 6. Dr. Ray R. Irani, Executive Chairman of Occidental Petroleum Corporation, and Mr. Waleed Al Mokarrab Al Muhairi, Chief Operating Officer of Mubadala Development Company, co-chaired the meeting. His Excellency Yousef Al Otaiba, United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) Ambassador to the United States, and the Honorable Michael H. Corbin, U.S. Ambassador to the U.A.E. attended the meeting as honorary board members. Senior executives representing American and Emirati companies with seats on the Council’s board joined the meeting to formulate the Council’s 2012 policy agenda.

In their opening remarks, co-chairmen Dr. Irani and Mr. Al Muhairi welcomed the executives and emphasized the important role the Business Council’s mission of advancing trade and commerce between the U.S. and U.A.E. plays in the overall relationship between the two countries.

“Your presence in Los Angeles is a testament to the support and successful implementation of the U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council’s chief objective of strengthening commercial ties between our two countries,” said Dr. Irani.

“The Council owes its continued success and clear vision to its strong leadership, the participation of its board member companies, and the support of the U.A.E. and U.S. governments at the highest levels,” added Mr. Al Muhairi.

Following opening remarks, Danny Sebright, President of the U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council, briefed board members and officials on initiatives and projects undertaken by the Business Council in 2011 in line with the council’s policy priorities set at the 2010 Fall Board of Directors’ meeting held in Abu Dhabi. Mr. Sebright highlighted the increased outreach efforts in the United States and the successful trade missions to the U.A.E. in the healthcare and commercial defense sectors as key indicators of the Council’s success and effectiveness.

Following Mr. Sebright’s update, members of the board reviewed the accomplishments of the U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council over the past year and heard special presentations from fellow board members about economic development in the U.A.E. and the effect of the Arab Spring on business in the broader Middle East region. These included special presentations by Mr. Al Muhairi and Sultan bin Sulayem, Chairman, DP World. The board then voted to ratify the 2012 work plan.

The Board of Directors’ meeting was preceded by a policy luncheon held in honor of His Excellency Mohammed Al Romaithi, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce & Industry and Co-Vice Chairman of the U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council, at the SLS Hotel at Beverly Hills. The luncheon was attended by Ambassador Al Otaiba and Ambassador Corbin, members of the Council’s board of directors, senior executives representing the Los Angeles and broader business community, and government officials from the U.S. and U.A.E.

In his remarks, H.E. Al Romaithi hailed the economic development of the United Arab Emirates and underscored the commercial viability of exploring areas of partnership for American and Emirati companies. Moreover, he stressed that Abu Dhabi’s commitment to the diversification of the U.A.E.’s economy, in line with Abu Dhabi Economic Plan 2030, opened the door for increased partnership and technology transfer between the U.S. and U.A.E.

“Commerce is one of the key and significant pillars supporting the foundation of the overall relationship between the U.S. and U.A.E.,” said H.E. Al Romaithi.

Following the policy luncheon and the Board of Directors’ meeting, Dr. Irani and Mr. Al Muhairi hosted a U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council reception in honor of Ambassador Al Otaiba and Ambassador Corbin at Drai’s at the W Hollywood Hotel. Government officials and senior business executives attended the reception and were joined by members of the Los Angeles entertainment community for a cultural event celebrating the U.S.-U.A.E. relationship.

“The three important and diverse Business Council events held today show the breadth and depth of the relationship that exists between our two countries,” said Ambassador Al Otaiba.

“Today’s events in Los Angeles reinforce U.A.E.’s standing as an important partner for the U.S. in the Middle East,” said Ambassador Corbin. “Furthermore, It is important to hold events such as these outside of Washington, D.C. to educate Americans about the significance of this partnership.”

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Brian Principato
U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council
(202) 863-7288
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