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Rising US exports to the UAE support 125,000 jobs

US UAE exports New York harbour Reuters/Mike Segar
Apollo Global Management in New York was involved in Mena’s largest M&A deal of 2023, the acquisition of Abu Dhabi's Univar Solutions
  • US-UAE trade up 19%
  • Trade gap widens to $18bn
  • US M&A in Mena worth $2.7bn

Exports from the United States to the UAE rose by nearly a fifth last year as bilateral trade increased to more than $31 billion.

Figures released by the US Department of Commerce Census Bureau show that US exports to the UAE totalled nearly $25 billion in 2023.

For the 15th year in a row the UAE was the top US export destination for the Middle East and North Africa region. 

The census bureau said exports to the UAE supported some 125,000 jobs in the US, calculated using the US Department of Commerce jobs multiplier of 5,967 jobs per $1 billion in exports.

The figures also showed that UAE exports to the US were just over $6.5 billion in 2023, a small decrease compared to the previous year.

The US trade surplus with the UAE amounted to more than $18 billion last year, up by more than $4 billion on 2022.

North America remained the largest acquiring region by value for merger and acquisition deals in the Mena region in 2023.

The 32 M&A transactions in the region last year involving US companies were worth a total of $2.7 billion, EY said last week.

Apollo Global Management, which has its headquarters in New York, was involved in Mena’s largest M&A deal of the year, the acquisition of Univar Solutions, which was part-owned by the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, for more than $8 billion. 

Last week, the US-UAE Business Council said artificial intelligence collaborations will help boost the bilateral relationship.

A report launched at the World Governments Summit in Dubai said US companies are investing and partnering in the UAE digital technology sector.

Danny Sebright, the business council’s president, said: “The UAE has identified AI and advanced technology as a key pillar of its economic development, which offers opportunities for US technology giants and innovative startups leading in this field to leverage partnerships.”

US UAE exports Danny SebrightWam
Danny Sebright

Sebright said that the business council had created a new AI taskforce to promote research and development between US and Emirati private sector companies across sectors including energy, defence, healthcare, logistics, financial services and food security.

Abu Dhabi Global Market embarked on a trade mission to Miami earlier this month in response to what it describes as “unprecedented demand” from big US hedge funds and private equity and venture capital firms. 

In November, 14 financial institutions representing total assets under management of $452 billion committed to set up new operations in ADGM.

The Dubai free zone DMCC also concluded a tour of the US earlier this month. Of the 1,500 US businesses operating in the UAE, 679, or 45 percent, are based in the DMCC’s international business district.

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