- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 1, 2009

UAE MEANS BUSINESS

A small, oil-rich federation of emirates on the Persian Gulf outpaced giant Saudi Arabia last year as the primary market for American exports to the Arab world, according to the U.S. ambassador to the United Arab Emirates.

“Defense, machinery, autos and even horses make up a large part of this trade, but this does not fully account for services such as legal and consulting,” Ambassador Richard Olson told business executives at a recent reception.

The United States shipped $15.7 million in exports to the UAE last year, topping the $12.5 billion in exports to Saudi Arabia, according to U.S. Trade Representative’s Office.

However, the Saudis remain the No. 1 U.S. trading partner in the Middle East, with $54.8 billion in exports to the United States, mostly oil. Saudi Arabia is America’s second-largest supplier of oil, behind Canada.

Mr. Olson predicted that the seven emirates of the UAE, along with the other nations of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), will soon recover from the global financial crisis.

“Times are significantly challenging,” he said, “but the GCC countries are best positioned to recover from the credit crunch, and the UAE will be at the forefront leading that recovery.”

In addition to the UAE, the Gulf council includes Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

TAIWAN THANKS U.S.

Taiwan’s envoy to the United States expressed his “sincere appreciation” for the emergency aid Washington sent to his country after a typhoon smashed into his island nation last month, killing more than 500 people.

The Obama administration provided purification tablets to treat more than 100,000 gallons of water and 120 huge rolls of plastic sheeting for the construction of temporary shelters immediately after the worst storm in 50 years struck Taiwan on Aug. 8 and 9.

The United States later dispatched heavy-lift helicopters to airdrop bulldozers and relief material, after an initial donation of $250,000.

Emergency personnel from the U.S. Agency for International Development arrived in Taiwan to work with local officials to evaluate the need for future assistance.

“On behalf of the government and people of [Taiwan], the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office would like to convey to the government and people of the United States their sincere appreciation for the heartfelt friendship and support that the U.S. personnel demonstrated throughout their prompt response and relief efforts,” Jason C. Yuan, Taiwan’s envoy, said in a statement.

A spokesman at the Taiwan office said Monday that the death toll has reached 571 from the initial storm and mudslides that claimed many lives afterward.

GOOD CHOICE

Most Canadians who know Manitoba Premier Gary Doer agree that he is a good choice to serve as ambassador to the United States.

In his home province and neighboring Saskatchewan, 53 percent supported Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s selection of Canada’s longest-serving premier, according to the results of an Angus Reid Strategies poll reported Monday in the Winnipeg Free Press.

Fifty-two percent of residents of Alberta endorsed the selection. Some 56 percent of residents in Canada’s Eastern seaboard provinces agreed. However, many had no opinion, including 46 percent in both British Columbia and French-speaking Quebec.

Mr. Doer, first elected in 1999, will replace Ambassador Michael Wilson, who has served in Washington since 2006.

Mr. Harper is the Conservative Party leader, while Mr. Doer is a member of the leftist New Democratic Party.

Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297, fax 202/832-7278 or e-mail jmorrison@ washingtontimes.com.

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