Ambassador Al Otaiba Visits Miami, Florida to Convey Strength of US-UAE Relations

March 9, 2012

MIAMI, FL (9 March 2012) - HE Yousef Al Otaiba, UAE Ambassador to the United States, today concluded a two-day visit to Miami, where he recognized and reinforced the strong economic, political and cultural ties between the UAE and the United States, as well as the state of Florida in particular.

Ambassador Al-Otaiba discusses UAE-US relations with Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen

Ambassador Al-Otaiba discusses UAE-US relations with Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen

As part of his visit, the Ambassador participated in a forum with Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, to discuss the strong strategic and economic bilateral relationship that exists between the US and the UAE, and other regional matters of mutual interest.  The forum was hosted by The University of Miami, and was attended by approximately 150 people, including local government officials, University of Miami faculty and students, members of the Miami diplomatic community, area high school students, and local business executives.

"The UAE-US bilateral relationship is stronger and more dynamic now than it has ever been before, and our two countries continue to deepen bilateral security, economic and cultural ties,” said Ambassador Al Otaiba. “I am proud to discuss common goals with the Chairwoman, and look forward to our two countries’ continued work to pursue security, stability and economic prosperity for the Middle East region.”

During his visit to Miami, Ambassador Al Otaiba participated in an Emerging Markets Forum hosted by Everest Capital – a renowned and distinguished global investment management firm.  The Ambassador participated in a panel discussion at the conference on “Opportunities in the Arab World” with Mr. Stephen Hadley, Former National Security Advisor to US President George W. Bush.  The panel discussion covered a number of topics, including economic, geopolitical and security issues.  The forum was attended by former senior United States government officials including Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, General Stanley McChrystal, Former Commander of US and International Forces in Afghanistan, and business leaders.

The Ambassador also joined The Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade, and leadership of the Manchester City Football Club to dedicate a new soccer field for the kids of the Little Havana community in Miami.  The field will enhance the after-school programming for the Club and the hundreds of kids it serves daily.

Ambassador Al-Otaiba inaugurates the new soccer field

Ambassador Al-Otaiba inaugurates the new soccer field

The UAE Embassy and Manchester City are working together to build soccer fields for underserved communities in the US.  In the Summer of 2010, the organizations teamed up to dedicate a roof-top field at the Lexington Academy school in Spanish Harlem, New York City, and in the Fall of 2011, The Boys & Girls Club of East Los Angeles received a field at their facility.  The programs have benefited each community, and have served as models to bring soccer programming and facilities to additional US cities around the country.  Manchester City Football Club is owned by His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

The Ambassador’s visit to Miami underscores the growing trade and economic relationship between Florida and the UAE, and also highlights the growing role of Miami as a hub for commerce between the emerging economies of the Middle East and South America.  According to the latest US government data, Florida is one of the top exporting states to the UAE – and also one of the fastest growing.  In 1999, Florida exported less than $45 million of goods and services to the UAE. Comparatively, in 2011, that number exceeded $1.2 billion.  This includes a broad range of goods and services from IT, software, and communications services, to automobile and boat parts.  Further, UAE companies are investing hundreds of millions of dollars into the Florida economy in industries such as transportation, hospitality and entertainment. 

In 2011, US and UAE trade accounted for over $18 billion of goods and services, including over $15 billion of US exports to the UAE.   In fact, the UAE is the largest trading partner for the United States in the Middle East region.  There are over 800 US companies with a presence in the UAE, and bilateral trade volume between the UAE and US has nearly quadrupled since 2001.