The Year of Zayed calls us to honour the Founding Father of the UAE, Sheikh Zayed, and to reflect upon his lifetime of effort in support of prosperity, tolerance and peace. When we think back on the years of US-UAE co-operation, there have been countless examples between our governments, our militaries, our educational systems, our cultures, our businesses and, most importantly, our people. These successes have culminated in more than $24 billion in annual bilateral trade in goods and services in 2017, and increased interaction and engagement through economic and educational opportunities for the people of both our countries.
To provide just a few examples, the Emirati company Gulftainer recently announced a $600 million, 50-year investment to operate, upgrade facilities and expand operations at the Port of Wilmington in Delaware, in the eastern United States – a project that is estimated to create 5,700 jobs over the next nine years. Separately, American universities and educational exchange programmes host more than 2,500 Emirati students annually, giving the UAE’s number-one resource – its people – more tools with which to reach their potential and to serve their country.
Our public and private sectors work together on everything from space exploration to helping people manage diabetes, as well as promoting the conservation of precious natural resources and the ecology of UAE waters. All of this is to ensure that people in both countries are able to live in greater safety and security as we walk together into the future.
It is through this lens that Discover America, which began in 2015 and showcases some of the best of American commerce, culture and cuisine to be found in the UAE, continues this year and serves to represent the immense scope and depth of our bilateral commercial relationship.
Discover America 2018 – which begins today and runs until the end of the month – will span high technology, education, healthcare, food and entertainment, compliance and regulation, and many other sectors, bringing together bankers, conservationists, moviegoers, gourmets and everyone else in between.
Ours is a relationship that thrives 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, whether or not we host a festival. But it is still important every now and then to step back and celebrate, as we will during Discover America.
The state of the US-UAE bilateral relationship in 2018 is a testament to Sheikh Zayed's vision and the United States is proud to partner with the Emirati government and people as the UAE continues to realise his vision, in 2018 and beyond.
Steven Bondy is charge d’affaires for the US embassy and consulate in the UAE