Complex Made Simple

The Jerusalem bombshell puts billions of American regional business at risk

US President Donald Trump has just about drawn the ire of most everyone in America since he was elected, and now he has antagonised almost everyone on earth, especially Muslims and Arabs, with his latest announcement to move the US embassy to the hotly contested city of Jerusalem.

The UN Security Council called for an emergency meeting by the end of the week.

The Saudi Press Agency reported that Saudi King Salman relayed to Trump the message that “Such a dangerous step is likely to inflame the passions of Muslims around the world due to the great status of Jerusalem and the Al Aqsa Mosque.”

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The UAE condemned the move as well.

Demonstrations took place across the US consulate in Turkey.

Malaysian PM Najib Razak called for Muslim unity in opposing the US plans.

The year began with a travel ban from 7 Muslim majority countries and is now ending with a decision that many perceive as an insult to all Muslims. What does the US stand to lose in terms of business?

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Overall trade

According to the US Census Bureau, the US exported $18bn and imported $17bn worth of goods in 2016 with Saudi, while up to October 2017, the US had exported $13.7bn, and imported $16bn.

Exports to the UAE totalled $22.4bn and imports reached $3.37bn in 2016, while up to October 2017, the US had exported $16bn, and imported $3.6bn.

Fortune magazine reports that up to 6% of U.S. trade is conducted with the world’s 47 Muslim-majority nations and regions, as announced by CNN.

“Statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau show the country’s trade with the world’s Muslim-majority countries reached over $220 billion in 2015,” it said.

From January up to November 2016, that figure stood at a massive $194bn.

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Top American business partners in the Muslim world include  Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey and Indonesia.

“Major U.S. firms like ExxonMobil and GE have either invested millions in these countries or set up regional plants and offices, according to the CNN Money report.

Whether the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) will react to this decide not to list 5% of Aramco’s on US stock exchanges is yet to be seen.

Focus: Saudi, UAE, Turkey and Indonesia

Saudi Arabia

CNN Money says the U.S. traded over $31bn worth of goods in the first 11 months of 2016. American companies exported cars, industrial machinery, construction equipment, civil aircraft, defense systems, IT and healthcare products to the Kingdom.

It said that the U.S imported 386 million barrels of oil from Saudi Arabia in 2015. The country is the second biggest source of foreign oil into the U.S.

American firms have invested $10bn in the country, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA).

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The U.S. and the UAE traded $23.3 billion worth of goods in the first 11 months of 2016.

CNN said it’s the single largest market for U.S. exports in the Middle East, and American companies have invested $15.6bn into the country, with more than 1,000 American firms operate in the country.


Trade between the U.S. and Turkey reached $17.4bn in 2015 and 2016.

U.S. companies have invested $3.6bn in Turkey in recent years, led by the banking and manufacturing sectors.


Trade in goods between the country and the U.S. reached $23bn in the first 11 months of 2016.

Indonesia, which is a member of the G20 group of world’s biggest economies, has attracted $13.5bn in American investments, mainly in the mining sector.