First with Financial Comment from Arabia

$40bn nuclear pact to transform UAE-US trade

with one comment

japan-mihama-plantThe landmark nuclear cooperation agreement between the UAE and United States past a key Congressional barrier last week, leading to renewed hope that a $40 billion deal for nuclear power plants could soon be signed with the key US regional ally.

The UAE plans to build a network of nuclear power stations to meet its increasing electricity demand so that oil and gas can be exported instead.

Nuclear fuel deal

Unlike Iran whose talks about importing nuclear fuel broke down last week, the UAE has pledged not to enrich uranium and to import all the nuclear fuel for its reactors. Final approval of the US-UAE deal could come within a week.

For US businesses including General Electric and Westinghouse the deal opens a new era of opportunity in the UAE, the most progressive nation in the Arab World. It will also kick back into history the post-9/11 hysteria that led to the cancellation of the proposed acquisition of P&O ports in the US by the Dubai Government a few years ago.

The aftermath of the ports saga led to a US-UAE free trade agreement being put on ice, something that ought now to be back on the agenda.

That there is increasing interest in business links between the UAE and US is evidenced by the success of national carrier Etihad’s new service to Chicago, which moves to a daily service from January and has enjoyed load factors of up to 90 per cent.

UAE trading hub

As the Great Recession continues to grip the US executives are looking far and wide for new markets. There is a widespread acknowledgment that anti-Arab sentiment in the years after 9/11 has cost US commercial interests lost exports, and that these fears were not only overdone but unfounded in the case of the UAE in particular.

The UAE and its fellow Gulf States are stalwart allies of the US, and have always been open for business. But the UAE has the most attractive environment for the Western lifestyles that multinational executives prefer, free zones for trade and an advanced urban and business infrastructure.

US business persons – and women are as welcome as men in the UAE – will find a friendly tolerance in this country far out of tune with the hostility met in much of the surrounding region, understandably so as US military forces still have a huge presence.


Written by Peter Cooper

October 24, 2009 at 9:35 am

One Response

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  1. Amazingly this story seems to have “passed” (not “PAST” as accepted by spellcheckers) by the local rags!

    I do believe this news should be shouted from the rooftops. With all the bad news and vituperative commentators out there, would the USA really tie up with a country that had such a poor outlook, because of one economically stretched Emirate?

    Rupert Neil Bumfrey

    October 24, 2009 at 11:48 am

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