UAE Embassy Diplomats Visit San Diego to Highlight Growing Trade Relationship and Explore Areas for Future Cooperation

November 18, 2013

WASHINGTON, DC (5 Nov 2013) – Diplomats from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Embassy in Washington, DC, recently concluded a visit to San Diego to discuss the growing bilateral UAE-US trade relationship with local business leaders, and explore areas for future collaboration through cultural and educational exchanges.  

The visit was organized in coordination with the San Diego World Affairs Council and the Northern County Chapter of the World Affairs Council. 

Dr. Saghira Al Ahbabi – Second Secretary, Political Department and Saud Al Nowais – UAE Commercial Counselor to the US participated in briefings with local business and community leaders.

While in San Diego, the diplomats met with executives from local companies that are doing business in the UAE, and also visited the Scripps Institution of Oceanography to learn more about cutting-edge research and best practices in the fields of ocean, earth and atmospheric science research and education. The diplomats also met with the University of California, San Diego’s (UCSD) International House, where they discussed UAE higher education initiatives with faculty and students.  

During a briefing with leaders from CONNECT San Diego, the diplomats exchanged information about initiatives to promote entrepreneurship and innovation, particularly in the field of life sciences.

“California and the UAE share a very strong and increasingly dynamic commercial and cultural relationship,” said Yousef Al Otaiba, UAE Ambassador to the US.  “It is important that we pursue regional outreach visits like this across the US to better educate Americans about the US-UAE bilateral relationship.”

California ranks third among US states exporting merchandise to the UAE, and in 2012, total California exports to the UAE were valued at $1.8 billion.  Top exports from California to the UAE included global forage exports, automotive, computers and nuts. Exports to the UAE alone support employment of over 23,000 individuals in California. The San Diego port handled nearly $8 million in trade with the UAE from 2010 to 2012, and is ranked 34th largest US port for trade with the UAE.

Dr. Al Ahbabi and Mr. Al Nowais also met with Emirati students who are attending colleges and universities in the San Diego area. There are currently over 300 Emirati students attending colleges and universities throughout California.

The diplomats’ visit to San Diego is part of the UAE Embassy's ongoing effort to raise awareness among Americans of the deep UAE-US bilateral relationship. UAE Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba and Embassy diplomats plan to visit additional US cities  in the coming months.