x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Sheikha Lubna in US talks

Visits the US capital for talks on improving trade ties

WASHINGTON // Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, the UAE Minister of Foreign Trade, yesterday visited the US capital for talks on improving trade ties. Sheikha Lubna yesterday met the secretary of state Hillary Clinton and William Burns, the undersecretary of state for political affairs. She was also due to meet top legislators in her week-long visit. At a lunch yesterday hosted by the US-UAE Business Council, which is affiliated with the US Chamber of Commerce, Sheikha Lubna talked of the strength of the two countries' partnership.

She stressed the resilience of the UAE economy, helped by diversification and currency reserves, and said the Emirates would continue to be an attractive place for US businesses. "Although the UAE has not been immune to the effects of the crisis, it has been able to cushion and deflect most of the impact through its sound economic fundamentals, timely policy responses such as relaxed monetary regulations, the securing of banking system liabilities, and the injection of fresh capital where necessary," Sheikha Lubna said in prepared remarks.

She said the Government injected US$33 billion (Dh121.2bn) into local banks and introduced legislation to stimulate investment after the downturn. "Our resilience against the downturn makes us an excellent partner for the US as it seeks to regroup, rebuild and re-energise," Sheikha Lubna said. US goods exports to the UAE fell by 16 per cent from 2008 to last year, according to a recent analysis of the two countries' trade ties, which was commissioned by the US-UAE Business Council.

Still, the UAE bought $12bn worth of US goods last year, making it the largest export market for US goods in the Middle East. Overall, US exports to the UAE have more than tripled since 2002, the analysis said. Sheikha Lubna touted initiatives that would further improve trade ties, including the establishment of the US Middle East Free Trade Area by 2013. business@thenational.ae