UAE Embassy Diplomats Visit Florida Officials to Highlight Growing Trade Relationship and Explore Areas for Future Cooperation

October 1, 2013


WASHINGTON, DC (18 September 2013) – Diplomats from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Embassy in Washington, DC, Dr. Saghira Al Ahbabi – Second Secretary, Political Department and Saud Al Nowais – UAE Commercial Counselor to the US, traveled to Tampa and Orlando, Florida this week, to meet with local government officials, business executives, community leaders and students to discuss the growing bilateral UAE-US trade relationship, and explore areas for future collaboration through cultural and educational exchanges.

Florida ranks fifth among US states exporting merchandise to the UAE, and the Tampa Port is the 6th largest port for trade with the UAE in the United States. In 2012, total Florida exports to the UAE were valued at $1.6 billion.  Top exports from Florida to the UAE included cars, trucks, aircraft parts, gold and computers.  Exports to the UAE alone support employment of over 16,500 individuals in Florida.


















During their visit to Tampa, the diplomats met with board members from the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation’s International Trade and Foreign Direct Investment Task Force, as well as senior leadership from the Tampa Port Authority to discuss ways to increase trade and economic ties between Tampa and the UAE. Also in Tampa, the diplomats visited the Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation (CAMLS) to learn more about cutting-edge research and best practices in the medical field. The delegates also visited the University of Tampa’s Sykes College of Business, where they spoke to faculty and senior administrators about higher education initiatives in the UAE.  

While in Orlando, the diplomats were received by senior officials from the Office of Mayor Buddy Dyer and given a tour of City Hall. During the meeting, they discussed methods to continue expanding the cultural, social and economic relationship between Orlando and the UAE. The diplomats also visited Enterprise Florida, the National Entrepreneur Center, and University of Central Florida’s Business Incubation Center to learn more about Florida’s initiatives in entrepreneurship.

In both cities, the UAE Embassy officials spoke about careers in diplomacy and discussed the UAE-US relationship and other key topics with students from Tampa Hillsborough County Public School and Orange County Public School.  

Dr. Al Ahbabi and Mr. Al Nowais also met with Emirati students who are attending colleges and universities in Central Florida.  There are currently over 100 Emirati students attending colleges and universities throughout the State.

The diplomats’ visit to Tampa and Orlando is part of the UAE Embassy's ongoing effort to raise awareness among Americans of the deep UAE-US bilateral relationship.  Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba and Embassy diplomats plan to visit additional US cities this year.