University of Minnesota hosts international business conference highlighting U.A.E. delegation
- United Arab Emirates: Saturday, September 29 - 2012 at 11:50
- PRESS RELEASE
The 'Dubai and the Northern Emirates-USA Roadshow' delegation from the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) marked its third stop on a five-city tour of the United States with a conference in Minneapolis on Thursday. The conference was hosted by the Global Initiative at the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management in partnership with the U.S. Commercial Service, the National U.S.-Arab Chamber of Commerce (NUSACC), and the U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council.
The conference was anchored by a luncheon, co-hosted by NUSACC and the U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council, in honor of the delegation and featured remarks from His Excellency Hisham Al Gurg, Chief Executive Officer of the Private Office of Sheikh Saeed Bin Ahmad Al Maktoum and Representative Keith Ellison, 5th District of Minnesota at the U.S. House of Representatives.
President and CEO of the National U.S.-Arab Chamber of Commerce's (NUSACC) David Hamod and the U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council's Vice President Colin Rutherford provided opening remarks at the lunch and emphasized the strength of the U.S.-U.A.E. economic and trade relationship as well as the U.A.E.'s position as a regional gateway and hub for international trade and commerce.
"Today's conference at the University of Minnesota provided an excellent opportunity for industry representatives from the U.S. and the U.A.E. to engage each other, exchange international perspectives on corporate practices and culture, and strengthen U.S.-U.A.E. commercial relations," said Hamod.
"The U.A.E. is currently America's top export destination in the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region." said Rutherford. "It is important to inform key decision-makers as well as the broader America business community about the economic strength and viability of the U.A.E as a commercial destination and key transit point to world markets around the world."
Following their remarks, Robert Bannerman provided the audience with both a status report of the delegation's visit and underscored the U.S. Commercial Service's commitment to supporting the President's National Export Initiative to boost American exports by advancing trade ties with the U.A.E. and other countries around the globe. After his brief comments, Bannerman introduced H.E. Al Gurg for the keynote speech.
"Minneapolis is an important financial center in the United States and home to several global companies expanding to emerging markets in the U.A.E., the broader Middle East region, and around the world," said Al Gurg. "Our delegation is thrilled to have the opportunity to establish connections that have unbounded potential with American business leaders today and throughout our trip."
Rep. Ellison concluded the luncheon's formal program with remarks expressing the importance of global economic outreach and partnership with the U.A.E. to the local market in the metropolitan Minneapolis area and the broader United States.
"I am very pleased that Minneapolis was one of the destinations for the Dubai and Northern Emirates Road Show," said U.S. Representative Keith Ellison. "There are many investment opportunities in Minneapolis and the Twin Cities region for the U.A.E. business community to explore. I hope that we can capitalize on these businesses to business gatherings to increase business development through trade promotion and foreign direct investment between our region and U.A.E."
The conference kicked off earlier Thursday morning with remarks by Michael Houston, Associate Dean of Global Initiative at the University of Minnesota's Carson School of Management; the U.S. Consulate in Dubai's Robert Bannerman; NUSACC's David Hamod; and Colin Rutherford of the U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council. In their welcome remarks, the co-hosts welcomed the audience, introduced the delegation, and underscored the importance of the Minneapolis stop to the overall mission's objective of spreading corporate awareness of investment and partnership opportunities in the U.A.E. to key global markets around the United States.
Following the welcome remarks, members of the U.A.E. delegation and Talal Kaissi, Chief of Staff of the Trade & Commercial Office at the U.A.E. Embassy, sat down for a panel discussion on the corporate climate, national infrastructure, and social culture in the U.A.E. Moderated by Dr. John Pournoor, International Governments Markets Executive at 3M, the panel highlighted opportunities in the northern emirates of Dubai, Ras Al Khaimah, and Sharjah. After the formal program, Dr. Pournoor opened the floor to the audience to ask the panelists questions and engage in an open discussion about commercial and investment opportunities for American companies in the Emirates.
After the morning panel, several members of the U.A.E. delegation made individual presentations to the audience highlighting their specific businesses and corporate objectives for the visit to the United States. Although delegates' presentations covered diverse economic sectors, developing long-term partnerships and exploring training opportunities with American firms and institutions was a prevalent theme throughout the session.
After the luncheon, the delegation attended targeted meetings and business-to-business matchmaking sessions. On Friday morning, the delegation will finish the Minnesota-leg of the mission with a site visit to the 3M Innovation Center in St. Paul.
The Minneapolis/St. Paul area is home to numerous business sectors, including agribusiness & food services, banking & financial services, health care services, and retail. Located on the banks of the Mississippi River, the Minneapolis/St. Paul area is the sixteenth largest metropolitan area in the United States, serving as an economic bridge between the Midwest and the West Coast. The two cities, known as the "Twin Cities," are renowned for the Chain of Lakes system. Some of the leading companies with headquarters in Minneapolis/St. Paul include Ameriprise Financial, Best Buy, CHS, General Mills, Land O'Lakes, Medtronic, Target, Thrivent, UnitedHealth Group, U.S. Bancorp, Xcel Energy, and 3M.
The 'Dubai & the Northern Emirates - USA Roadshow' is organized by the Commercial Service at the U.S. Consulate in Dubai in partnership with the National U.S.-Arab Chamber of Commerce (NUSACC) and the U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council and supported by the Trade & Commercial Office at the Embassy of the U.A.E. in Washington, D.C. After Minnesota, the delegation will travel to Seattle and Dallas/Fort Worth before returning to the United Arab Emirates next week.
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