Sharjah Chamber of Commerce Launches U.S.A. Regional Trade Center (USARTC)

November 4, 2011

SHARJAH, UAE (3 November 2011) - The Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) today announced plans for the establishment of the U.S.A. Regional Trade Center (USARTC), on the SCCI and Expo City complex. The announcement was made by Mr. Hussain M. Al Mahmoudi, Director General of the SCCI. The USARTC will be a public-private partnership between the Government of Sharjah and SS General Trading LLC (SSGT), a division of NSCO, with offices in Sharjah, Dubai and the United States.  

The USARTC’s mission is to facilitate business, trade, cultural understanding and education between the USA and the UAE, GCC, Middle East North Africa (MENA) and the Indian subcontinent by providing a centrally located hub with onsite resources – state agencies, non-government organizations, associations, think-tanks, and related agencies involved in the promotion of US exports. The USARTC will provide affordable office space and virtual office solutions for US small and medium sized enterprises (SME’s), enabling them to evaluate the regional market in a cost effective manner. The USARTC will also host trade missions, conferences, networking events and other activities that promote US products and services.  

During the press conference announcing the USARTC, Mr. Francisco Sánchez, the Under Secretary for International Trade, International Trade Administration, US Department of Commerce, signed and presented an official letter of support for the initiative to SCCI First Vice Chairman Mohammed S. Houwaden, and stated that “Sharjah has distinguished itself as an educational and cultural hub in the U.A.E., and this USA Regional Trade Center and the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce are furthering the Emirate’s reputation as a place Americans and American businesses should visit.  We look forward to working with Sharjah to promote further trade with the United States." Attendees at the signing included the UAE Minister of Foreign Trade, H.E. Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi; Assistant Secretary of Transportation, Assistant Secretary for Aviation and International Affairs of the Department of Transportation, Susan Kurland; US Consul General Justin Siberell, Chamber officials, business leaders and members of a US transportation trade delegation organized by the US-UAE Business Council.  

The UAE has been the Arab world’s leading importer of U.S. goods and services for the past five years, importing over $11.64 billion in U.S. goods and services in 2010.  “We believe the Center will strengthen bilateral ties between the US and the UAE by facilitating trade, cultural understanding and friendly relations throughout the GCC and MENA regions by enabling US SME’s to invest and/or locate their companies in the UAE and regionally.  As a government entity we support such initiatives that boost bilateral trade", stated H.E. Sheikha Lubna Al Qassimi, Minister of Foreign Trade, United Arab Emirates. 

Speaking on behalf of the Chamber, Mr. Hussain M. Al Mahmoudi said “We are very excited about this initiative. This initiative manifests H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan Al Qassimi’s vision of positioning Sharjah as a center for sustainable business practices.  Since 2007, the Chamber’s goal was to establish country-specific exhibitions on the Sharjah Expo City.  But, the USARTC is a trade center – a much more comprehensive initiative.  And we believe the Center will position Sharjah as a true hub for the GCC, MENA and Southeast Asian region, especially for SME’s. We anticipate the Center will contribute to Sharjah’s overall economy, encourage business growth and trade with Sharjah companies and introduce the Sharjah investment community to business opportunities in the USA.  Sharjah is the perfect location for this initiative.”

Today’s announcement officially launches the USARTC initiative.  Over the next three months the USARTC team will be meeting with US federal and state officials seeking support and participation. “We are pleased the Chamber received written support for the Center from the US Department of Commerce and the UAE government”, stated Jihad Solaiman, Chief Executive Officer of SSGT.  “With over a trillion dollars in trade projected with the Arab world by 2013, and the million plus jobs that level of trade will sustain, it is our sincere hope that the Center will continue to receive support from the US and UAE governments, state agencies, associations and organizations committed to growing US exports.”

About the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry

The Sharjah Chamber of Commerce & Industry was established by an Amiri decree issued in 1970 by His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah in order to effectively and vitally participate in the organization of economic life and the prosperity of its trade, industry and professions sectors on all levels and in cooperation with the concerned establishments and bodies and local departments.