H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, has concluded his visit to Washington, DC, where he met with US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Congressional leaders.
During the meetings, Sheikh Abdullah and the US officials reaffirmed the strong bilateral economic ties, joint efforts to counter extremist groups and Iran’s destabilising activities in the Middle East region.
In discussions with Secretary Mnuchin and Congressional leaders, Sheikh Abdullah highlighted the US’ $15.7 billion trade surplus with the UAE and the hundreds of billions of dollars of UAE investment in the US. He also noted that for nine straight years, the UAE has been the top US export destination in the entire MENA region, with all US states sending goods and services to the UAE.
Total bilateral trade is now US$24.3 billion, and over the past decade, US exports to the UAE have nearly doubled supporting thousands of American jobs all across the country.
Sheikh Abdullah and the US Treasury Secretary affirmed the leadership role that the UAE has played in the region for more than ten years to counter terrorist and illicit financing. These efforts have included enacting new laws, designating extremist financiers, and rigorous enforcement.
The two officials also noted that all countries must be vigilant against Iran’s efforts to exploit their financial institutions to exchange currency and fund destabilising activities in the Middle East region.
They also noted the ongoing close collaboration within the Terrorist Financing Targeting Centre to use existing tools with partners in the Gulf region to prevent funding for extremist organisations.
They highlighted the recent successful joint US-UAE action taken to disrupt a large scale currency exchange network that was transferring cash to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force, to fund its malign activities and regional proxy groups.
In the meeting with the Secretary and with Congressional leaders, Sheikh Abdullah emphasised the UAE as a responsible trading partner and strong security ally of the US. He urged the US toward a timely reconsideration of national security-premised restrictions on UAE aluminum and steel exports to the US. He noted the US has been an important market for UAE aluminum, representing around 25 percent of overall UAE exports.
The UAE is one of the few countries that produce high-purity aluminum, a significant portion of which is used in the production of US-manufactured defence equipment and commercial aircraft. The United States is also a strong security partner of the UAE and the two countries have an active Defence Cooperation Agreement.
During briefings at the US Capitol, Sheikh Abdullah also highlighted the UAE’s forward-looking approach to building a more tolerant, prosperous and peaceful region that advances collective UAE and US interests and values.
The UAE Foreign Minister met with Senator Bob Corker, Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; Senator Bob Menendez, ranking member of Foreign Relations Committee; Senator James Risch, Chair of the Subcommittee On Near East, South Asia, Central Asia, and Counterterrorism; Senator Ben Cardin, Ranking Member of the Subcommittee On Western Hemisphere, Transnational Crime, Civilian Security, Democracy, Human Rights, and Global Women's Issues; Representative Eliot Engel, Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee; Representative Ted Poe, Chair of the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade; and Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Chair of the Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee.
The meetings were attended by Yousef Mana'a Saeed Al Otaiba, UAE Ambassador to the United States of America.