H.E. Hamad Buamim, Director General, Dubai Chamber
As a leading chamber of commerce in the region, the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry made its presence felt in Seattle during a reception it hosted at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel in honour of the UAE and American delegates attending the Emirates airline direct flight launch to Seattle, Washington recently.
Organised in association with the Trade Development Alliance of Greater Seattle, and the U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council, the gala dinner was attended by H.E. Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid Al Qasimi, UAE Minister of Foreign Trade, H.E. Yousef Al Otaiba, UAE Ambassador to the U.S., H.E. Hamad Buamim, Director General, Dubai Chamber, Mr. Tayloe Washburn, Former Chairman, Trade Development Alliance of Greater Seattle, and high profile delegates from the UAE and US including senior government officials, international business executives, and members of the greater Washington community, attended the reception.
In his welcome address, H.E. Buamim thanked the Emirates airline in helping Dubai achieve another milestone in strengthening the relationship between UAE and the US, which he said will ultimately boost the bilateral ties between the two countries even further in the areas of trade, tourism and culture.
H.E. Buamim informed that in the last few years, the US-UAE business relationship developed quite well. “We concluded last year with very strong numbers and with the new infrastructure and flights that the Emirates airline has just added to Dallas last month and Seattle now, we are raising the bar of our expectations for 2012 and the years to come. Such direct flights are bridging the long distances and shortening the time between both our regions,” he said.
The Director General of Dubai Chamber further stressed that in order to sustain the past growth, both the sides have to work together to address the issues and challenges that are proving obstacles in their relationship. He took the opportunity on behalf of Dubai’s business community to highlight the visa issue as one of the challenges facing the business relationship.
“Though many things have developed well but we still have room to develop even further. Now, it is about time the US recognises the UAE as part of the visa waiver program which will give UAE citizens a preferential treatment like many other “friendly” nations. By positively addressing such issues, we will be able to take the US-UAE business ties to the next level, H.E. Buamim emphasised.
Highlighting Dubai Chamber members’ exports and re-exports to the US, H.E. Buamim informed that the figures in 2011 clocked AED 601.8 million registering a rise of 9.2% in comparison to 2010, while the number of certificates of origin issued by Dubai Chamber to the US also increased by 20.3% last year compared to their 2010 figures.
Dubai and the United States are strong business partners as the country ranked as Dubai’s 3rd largest trade partner in the first five months of 2011. Currently, there are 1,025 American ownership and partnership companies operating in the Emirate, he said.
On his part, Mr. Tayloe Washburn, said that the US and the UAE are enjoying great trade ties, especially in the field of aviation. He also stressed on the existence of a number of unexplored business opportunities for both the sides and called upon the delegates and businesses from the two countries to work jointly for the enhancement of their bilateral relationship in the long run.
On the conclusion of the Seattle trip, H.E Buamim headed to Canada to join the high level UAE Economic delegation headed by H.E. Sultan Al Mansouri, UAE Minister of Economy, to the country from March 5 to 9.
The delegation will discuss opportunities for joint cooperation between the UAE and Canada as the Director General of Dubai Chamber will also attend a reception attended by H.E. John Baird, Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister, and will participate in a roundtable in the presence of high level Canadian government officials.
He will also attend business networking meetings with the Government of Quebec officials, Montreal Chamber of Commerce and Canada-Arab Business Council and will also visit a number of high potential business sites in Canada.