Bahrain has signed deals in Atlanta, Oklahoma City and Houston that will boost already strong commercial and economic ties between the Kingdom and United States.
A delegation led by Shaikh Mohammed bin Essa Al Khalifa, Chief Executive of the Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB), finalised the Memorandums of Understanding in a visit to the US. The agreements aim to maximise the opportunities presented by the trillion dollar Gulf and Bahrain-US Free Trade Agreement (FTA). They are between the EDB, which has the overall responsibility for creating the right climate to attract foreign investment to the Kingdom, and:
The City of Atlanta – signed by Mayor Kasim ReedThe Greater Oklahoma City Chamber – signed by its President and CEO Roy H. WilliamsThe Bilateral US-Arab Chamber of Commerce (BUSACC) and the Greater Houston Partnership (GHP) – signed by BUSACC Chairman David L. Phillips and GHP CEO Jeff Moseley
The deals will see cooperation in key sectors of common interest. These include education, healthcare, energy, life sciences, R&D, development through innovation, technology and industry cooperation, financial services, industrial and commercial services, telecoms, media and entertainment. Parties will also participate in joint initiatives such as conferences, symposiums, roadshows, workshops, discussion courses, forums, exhibitions and business delegations.
Shaikh Mohammed said: "These strategic agreements represent an opportunity to build on Bahrain's longstanding and close diplomatic relationship with the US and our strong economic and trade connections – including the success of our Free Trade Agreement. We look forward to developing closer working relations with the Atlanta, Oklahoma City and Houston business communities to jointly promote our respective economic interests."
The EDB is leading the process of the Kingdom's Vision 2030 under the guidance of His Royal Highness Prince Salman Bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince of Bahrain and Chairman of the EDB. The plans are designed to drive the private sector as an engine for growth and support further diversification of the economy – already recognized as the most diversified in the region.
In an interview from CNBC's global headquarters in New York during the visit, Shaikh Mohammed spoke of Bahrain's ambition to contribute to the growth of the Gulf as a whole. "People talk about China and India. Our aspiration (in Bahrain) actually is that they talk of China, India and the GCC," he said.