U.S. -; UAE Hold TIFA Plus Council Meeting
Washington, DC – U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab and United Arab Emirates (UAE) Minister of Commerce and Planning Shaikha Lubna Al-Qasimi and Minister of State for Finance Mohammed Khalfan bin Khirbash discussed ways to deepen the U.S. –UAE economic relationship and improve bilateral trade and investment ties in a meeting June 29th at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. The meeting took place under the auspices of the U.S. – UAE Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) Plus Council, a joint body created earlier this year.
“Our talks were very productive and we have laid the groundwork for substantive cooperation in a number of areas including Intellectual Property, the Digital Economy and in the area of standards” said Ambassador Schwab. “I am pleased with the progress made under the TIFA Plus Council. Both sides have agreed to a specific work plan under which the Council will make continued progress on cooperative activities over the next six months.”
“The UAE is a model within the Middle East of economic diversity and trade liberalization, and we look forward to improving our bilateral relationship and working together on the Doha global trade negotiations” said Ambassador Schwab. “The constructive meetings between our officials illustrate our government’s commitment to trade and investment liberalization.”
The TIFA Plus Council meeting was the first meeting between the U.S. and the UAE trade officials since both sides announced that it would not be possible to complete FTA negotiations under the existing Trade Promotion Authority. The discussions covered a variety of economic topics and several areas were identified for enhanced cooperation. The goal of the TIFA Plus Council meetings is to build upon the significant progress made in the FTA negotiations and work towards an eventual resumption of negotiations.
The UAE is currently the United States’ 34th largest goods trading partner with $13.3 billion in total (two way) goods trade during 2006. The UAE is currently the 19th largest goods export market with U.S. exports of $11.9 billion in 2006 and the 71st largest supplier of goods during the same period. Top exports to the UAE in 2006 included: Aircraft ($5.3 billion), Machinery ($1.7 billion), Vehicles ($1.3 billion) and Electrical Machinery ($597 million).