DUBAI // The UAE is at the crossroads of the world and is a great place to do business, according to the United States ambassador to the country.
Michael H Corbin also outlined the importance to the US of the Arab Health conference after US$40million (Dh147m) of business resulted from last year's event.
"We are just so pleased to see 186 US companies participating, of which 60 are newcomers to this show," he said. "For us, this underlines how this show is increasingly one of the most important healthcare shows in the world.
"From last year ... $40m of business came out of this one show."
Healthcare ties between the area and the US go back half a centuryafter two American doctors founded Oasis Hospital in Al Ain in 1960. The hospital was founded at the invitation of the nation's founder, Sheikh Zayed.
More than 50 years later, the relationship has continued to flourish, with US hospitals and institutions such as Cleveland Clinic and Johns Hopkins Medicine International both managing local hospitals.
With Arab Health, the UAE has also made a name for itself on a global level, said the ambassador.
"It underlines the UAE as the crossroads of the world and it underlines the fact that people are coming here - from south-east Asia, from all of sub-Saharan Africa, from the central Asian republics, from the rest of the Middle East - they are coming in droves and the figures are showing in the hotel rooms, the figures are showing at Dubai Shopping Festival, the figures are showing in Abu Dhabi, as people transit and visit the United Arab Emirates," he said.
"For us ... this is where people can do business. And for us, when we look at the US-UAE trade relationship; in 2011 it was $16bn; in 2012, we think, it's going to be - when the figures are totalled up - about $22bn. So that's more than a 40 per cent increase in trade, and what that reflects is that people are bringing business here."
US companies of varying size have a presence at the conference, with one small outfit offering inflatable mattresses that make transferring morbidly obese patients an easier task.
Other equipment being displayed includes a locking code system that ensures that patients receive the correct blood type.
Arab Health, which is in its 38th year and takes place each year at the World Trade Centre, Dubai, runs until Thursday.