US-Arab Chamber of Commerce talks developing economies

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BYU and The National U.S.-Arab Chamber of Commerce sponsored a conference Tuesday in the Kennedy center on building opportunities to explore trade and investment between Utah, the Middle East and North Africa.

Many students, faculty and community members had the opportunity to hear from commercial officers from Bahrain, Egypt, Oman, Morocco and Tunisia.

NUSACC, National U.S.-Arab Chamber of Commerce, is a non-profit organization that has been dedicated to serving U.S.-Arab business relations for over 40 years.

Besides research and publications, NUSACC promotes trade between the United States, Middle East and North Africa. By 2015, NUSACC aims to establish $160 billion exports to the Middle East.

Curtis Silvers, executive vice president of NUSACC, stated the relationship between the U.S. and the Middle East remains strong.

“The trading situation now, in general, is positive and strong”, Silvers said.

Rose Sager, Trade Representative of Bahrain, gave an exciting perspective on Bahrain’s business opportunities.

Sager said according to Heritage Foundation,  Bahrain has the most free and best economy in the Middle East and North Africa region.

In order to promote more trade and investment with the U.S., Bahrain strictly follows U.S. trading and investment rules and constantly updates copyright and intellectual laws based on U.S. laws.

Ashraf Ezzeldin, Minister Plenipotentiary and head of the economic and commercial office of Egypt, said the revolution last year cost Egypt’s economy $40 billion and created more than 650,000 unemployed citizens.

Despite the revolution, Ezzeldin is positive about Egypt’s economy and said the effects of the revolution won’t affect trade with the U.S.

“It did not delay the trading to the U.S.,” Ezzeldin said. “Egypt’s economy actually had an increase of 2.7% in exports to the U.S. [in 2011].”

Shireen Said, Commercial Attache in the Embassy of the  Sultanate of Oman, said Oman’s economy is based on justice and principles of freedom and emphasizes the development of human resources.

Oman’s main goals are to create a stable infrastructure to diversify and invest in manufacturing. These goals will attract more U.S. trading and investment to Oman.

Oman’s economy is second among the Arabic Countries with a stable economy, low corporate taxes and free trade agreements.

Abdeslam Zefri, economic counselor and Embassy of the Kingdom of Morocco, said the country has been making reforms on social structure in order to participate more in U.S. trading and investment.

Green Morocco is a policy created by the king to embrace environmental causes and aid agriculture. One of  Green Morocco’s major projects  is putting $90 billion towards developing solar energy.

First counselor at the Tunisia Embassy, Bouzekri Rmili, said Tunisia’s economy is ranked as having the least corruption in North Africa and ranked highest for trade by the World Trade Organization . They currently have a trade and investment treaty with the U.S. and have done hundreds of millions of dollars in trade over the past several years.

NUSACC and commercial officers all are confident in continued trade and growth with the U.S. and more information in available at www.nusacc.org.

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