U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council Holds Annual Board Meeting in Abu Dhabi

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U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council Board of Directors meet in Abu Dhabi to chart the organization's 2014 agenda.

Senior executives representing top American and Emirati companies met for the U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council annual Board of Directors meeting on Wednesday, November 20th in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.). Held at the new Rosewood Hotel Abu Dhabi and led by U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council Co-Chairmen His Excellency Waleed Al Mokarrab Al Muhairi, COO of Mubadala, and John Rice, Vice Chairman and CEO of Global Growth for General Electric, the meeting of distinguished U.S.-U.A.E. private sector stakeholders charted the 2014 agenda for the Council. The meeting kicked off with welcome remarks from U.A.E. Ambassador to the United States, His Excellency Yousef Al Otaiba, and U.S. Ambassador to U.A.E., the Honorable Michael H. Corbin, who participated as distinguished observers.

“The commercial and trade relationship that produced nearly $25 billion in trade last year has emerged as a cornerstone of broader U.S.-U.A.E. relations,” said Ambassador Al Otaiba. “The U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council continues to play an instrumental role in deepening key commercial partnerships and broadening awareness among direct and indirect stakeholders in both countries.”

"The U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council is a unique organization in that it works with business and government in both countries to promote the bilateral trade relationship,” added Ambassador Corbin. “It plays a vital leadership role in pursuing new and creative means to increase trade.”

Among the first orders of business was the election of the Council’s new Co-Chairman John Rice, Vice Chairman and CEO of Global Growth for General Electric, and three new Co-Vice Chairs: Marillyn A. Hewson, President & CEO of Lockheed Martin Corporation, Shephard W. Hill, President of Boeing International, and His Excellency Dr. Nasser Saif Al Mansoori, CEO of Etihad Rail. Mr. Rice joins U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council Co-Chairman His Excellency Waleed Al Mokarrab Al Muhairi, Chief Operating Officer of Mubadala Development Company, at the helm of the newly minted Board that retains Mohammed Sharaf, Chief Executive Officer of DP World, as a founding Co-Vice Chairman.

“It is truly an honor to welcome such titans of global industry to the leadership ranks of the U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council,” said Danny Sebright, President of the U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council. “The caliber of executives elected to the Council’s Board of Directors today is a clear testament to the importance American businesses place on the U.A.E. as a critical crossroads for global commerce, and the U.A.E.’s efforts to link to the global supply chain across several key sectors with world-class offerings.”

Following confirmation of the Council’s new leadership, senior executives provided sector specific updates and previewed opportunities for increased U.S.-U.A.E. commercial partnership. The presenters included CEO of Cleveland Clinic-Abu Dhabi Dr. Marc Harrison on broader U.S.-U.A.E. healthcare trends, CEO of DP World Mohammed Sharaf for multi-modal logistics and an overview of Dubai’s business climate, H.E. Dr. Al Mansoori for a progress update on Etihad Rail - the U.A.E.’s federal rail program, and GE’s John Rice on lessons learned in global capacity building and corporate diversity.

The Board also discussed Dubai's bid for the World Expo 2020 and the ramifications of success for U.S. Business over the next five years. Members of the Board reviewed efforts to support the government-to-government U.S.-U.A.E. Economic Policy Dialogue, and approved the formation of three sector-specific working groups in line with the agenda of the newly established CEO Forum.

During the discussion, the U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council Board proceeded to approve its 2014 policy agenda in line with U.A.E. Vision 2021, the country’s economic development plan in motion to shift the economy’s focus away from oil and toward sectors including: commercial aerospace; defense & security; commercial trade and foreign direct investment; tourism and hospitality; media and culture; infrastructure and greenbuild; education; healthcare; and alternative energy (nuclear, solar, renewable).

The meeting adjourned after the new leadership and members of the Board approved the budget and agreed to hold the 2014 Board of Directors meeting in the United States.


About the U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council:

The U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council is a progressive business advocacy organization solely committed to the advancement of the trade and commercial relationship between the United States and the United Arab Emirates. The Business Council actively works to ensure that the U.S. and U.A.E. remain attractive destinations for foreign direct investment by conducting effective policy advocacy, undertaking various trade promotion initiatives, providing ongoing updates on the business climate in both countries, and helping develop strategic relationships between U.S. and U.A.E. business and government officials.

For more information, visit: http://www.usuaebusiness.org.

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Brian Principato
U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council
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