SelectUSA summit lures Gulf business to the Potomac

Dr. Thani Al Zeyoudi, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade says his country has more than $1 trillion invested across the U.S.

Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade (Getty Images)

Gulf trade officials, executives and entrepreneurs have descended on suburban Washington D.C. this week for the SelectUSA Investment Summit, the U.S. government’s annual dog-and-pony show aimed at drumming up business partnerships around the world.

The four-day conference in National Harbor, Maryland, which drew close to 5,000 participants last year, kicked off on Sunday with a smorgasbord of panel discussions that included a “data dive” on foreign direct investment into the U.S. from the Middle East and Africa.

Representing the UAE at the U.S. Commerce Department-sponsored confab, is Dr. Thani Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, and executives from some 35 Emirati companies. “With over $1 trillion invested across America, the UAE has already ‘Selected the USA,’ and we look forward to deepening this important trade and economic relationship,” Al Zeyoudi said in a statement.

Saudi Arabia, which generated $34 billion in bilateral trade with the U.S. last year, is active both on the summit floor and the sidelines, where officials from Riyadh attended meetings on Sunday held by the Saudi-U.S. Trade and Investment Framework Agreement Council.

Among other events surrounding SelectUSA are a session titled “Trade Opportunities between the Middle East and the United States,” which features participation from U.S. ambassadors stationed in Gulf countries, and the fifth GCC-U.S. Trade and Investment Dialogue Forum.