The United States and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) signed yesterday a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) that establishes a joint council tasked with examining ways for the two countries to expand their bilateral trade and investment relationship.
US Trade Representative (USTR) representative Robert Zoellick and UAE Minister of State for Finance and Industry Mohammed Khalfan Bin Khirbash signed the TIFA at a ceremony in Washington.
Zoellick said in a press release that the agreement will promote US exports to the UAE, as well as assist that country with its efforts to liberalize and diversify its economy. The two countries engaged in $4.6 billion worth of trade in 2003.
Zoellick said the TIFA with the UAE, as well as the recent Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Morocco and completion of the second round of FTA negotiations with Bahrain, puts the United States "in good standing" to achieve its goal of seeing a Middle East Free Trade Area established by 2013.
The UAE is a top 30 US export market. In 2003, the US exported $3.5 billion worth of goods to the Emirates, including machinery, aircraft, vehicles, optical and medical instruments, live animals and tree nuts. The United States imported $1.1 billion worth of goods from the UAE in the same year, including mineral fuel, woven and knit apparel. — (menareport.com)
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