Wednesday 08, November 2017 by Jessica Combes

Mission attracts greater attention to Dubai’s innovation focus in Seattle and Portland

 

A delegation led by the Dubai Investment Development Agency (Dubai FDI), an agency of Dubai Economy, recently concluded a tour of the US during which they reinforced existing trade and investment links and successfully promoted the emirate as a growth hub and gateway to the world’s fastest-growing regional markets.

The delegation, which also included representatives from the Emirates Group, Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC), and the Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing (DTCM) had productive interactions with senior government as well as corporate executives and business leaders in the US cities of Seattle (State of Washington) and Portland (Oregon).

“While Dubai has reinforced its credentials as the place to be for businesses, our focus on knowledge and innovation has more than ever made the US a strategic source market for the emirate and the UAE in general. It was our fourth visit to the US for us in the last three years and we are encouraged by the outcomes from each visit,” commented Fahad Al Gergawi, CEO of Dubai FDI.

HE Abdulla Alsaboosi, UAE Consul General in Los Angeles also accompanied the delegation during the tour, which was also supported by the US-UAE Business Council. The delegation presented Dubai's development strategies and policy initiatives as well as connectivity to the broader Middle East, Africa, and South Asia across a range of meetings, seminars and field visits in the two cities.

“Our latest trade mission to the US Pacific Northwest organised by Dubai FDI enabled Dubai’s leading entities to ultimately attract more trade to the region and drive the next wave of growth. As multinationals in established markets seek to expand in global markets, it is critical that we underline why Dubai is a first choice destination, and at the same time, that we understand their requirements and timelines. Likewise, trade missions like the ones arranged by Dubai FDI highlight the importance of best practices that can be shared between countries,” said Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Executive Chairman of DMCC.

In the State of Washington, the delegation was briefed on the innovation and economic climate by the Washington Department of Commerce before meeting the Honourable Edward B. Murray, Mayor of Seattle, and executives from Seattle-based companies and organisations representing a number of verticals including technology, transportation and logistics, education, and wholesale.

Senior executives from Amazon and Amazon Web Services including Jeff Wilke, CEO Worldwide Consumer, met with Dubai FDI to discuss partnerships and continued expansion into Dubai. Amazon Web Services recently began operations in Dubai and Amazon acquired Dubai-based Souq.com for $650 million.

The delegation toured the Seattle plant of Boeing that produces the 737 MAX aircraft and discussed expanding business opportunities in Dubai with two senior Boeing executives. Akbar Hussain, Regional Sales Director Western USA Emirates Airlines, pointed out that the airline has created countless new possibilities for people and businesses in the Pacific Northwest USA since the commencement of its daily non-stop service between Seattle to Dubai in March 2012 and in partnership with Alaska Airlines.

“Over the years Emirates have progressively grown cargo and passenger operations in the Pacific Northwest, and we will continue with our partners to expand and improve the product and services that we offer to our passengers. Dubai Government’s progressive and unrelenting policy support for trade and aviation is at the heart of this steady, long term growth and vision,” added Hussain.

James Murphy, Executive VP and COO of International, as well as Donn Coonrod, Buyer International Export Sales, and Dwight Smith, Buyer International Export Logistics from Costco, the largest American membership-only warehouse club, also met with Dubai FDI and discussed potential opportunities for expansion into Dubai.

Dubai FDI also visited the DigiPen Institute of Technology in Washington, which offers Bachelor's and Master's degree programmes in computer science, animation, and game development and held discussions with Jason Chu, DigiPen’s COO-International. DigiPen has campuses in Singapore and Bilbao, Spain, too.

Officials at the Port of Seattle briefed the Dubai delegation on their success in stimulating economic development in the region and the delegation also learned about Washington’s life sciences industry at the Life Sciences Washington.

Ibrahim Al Ahli, Director of Investment Promotion Division in Dubai FDI spoke about the business environment in Dubai and the emirate’s growth strategies at a ‘Why Dubai Networking Breakfast,’ hosted by Business Oregon and K&L Gates, LLP.

“Our focus in the US was particularly on engaging with investors and companies that can support the evolution of Dubai, and the UAE in general, into a knowledge-based and innovation-driven economy. We are delighted at the response we received in Seattle and Portland, and we look forward to more US expertise expediting Dubai’s transformation into a smart city of happy people,” said Al Ahli.

The event brought Dubai FDI face to face with a number of Portland-based businesses, including Columbia Industries, Columbia Sportswear Company (CSC),  SL Follen Company, Urban Systems, Inc., Warm Springs Composite Products, The Greenbrier Companies, Port of Portland, and Simplex Manufacturing Company. 

Urban Systems is specialised in technology-driven urban development programmes, particularly smart cities. Warm Springs is a global exporter of fire-rated door components while Greenbrier has its expertise in designing and building freight rail cars and marine barges. The Simplex product lines include aerial firefighting systems such as fire attack belly tanks for helicopters, agricultural spray systems, aerial cleaning systems, cargo pods, and high rise firefighting spray systems.

“Visits like the Dubai FDI mission to Seattle and Portland are an excellent way for Dubai-based organisations to provide effective outreach to American companies. The UAE offers a business-friendly environment and modern infrastructure that continues to provide US companies with direct access to the wider Middle East, Africa and South Asia,” added Danny Sebright, President of the US-UAE Business Council.