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Introduction of Her Highness Sheikha Lubna at the U.S.-UAE Business Council

Daniel Sullivan, Assistant Secretary for Economic, Energy and Business Affairs
Remarks to the U.S.-UAE Business Council
Washington, DC
October 31, 2008

Thank you Danny, and thank you to the U.S.-UAE Business Council. It is an honor for me to be here today to introduce Her Highness Sheikha Lubna. But before I get to her extremely impressive background, I would like to say a word about the broader U.S.-UAE relationship and its importance to the United States.

On the economic side, everyone in the room knows the numbers, and how impressive they are. The U.S.-UAE economic relationship amounts to the largest bilateral trade and investment relationship in the region. U.S. exports to the UAE between 2000 and 2007 expanded an incredible 500% to $12 billion in 2007. UAE exports to the U.S. have risen significantly during the same period, up 42% from $972 million to $1.3 billion. We see the same story when it comes to two-way investment, which is so important to both of our economies.

We know the numbers, but what is critical is that the leaders in this room do a better job of letting the American people know the story of our important relationship. What is truly impressive to me is that story behind these numbers, and that story is defined by “leadership.” The UAE has played a leadership role on so many of the economic issues in the region, sometimes a quiet role, but always an important one. The latest example is the “Generally Accepted Principles and Practices on Sovereign Wealth Funds (SWFs),” otherwise known as the Santiago Principles.

Another area where the U.S.-UAE bilateral relationship is strong is in security and defense. As a U.S. Marine deployed to the Middle East, I saw this relationship first hand. I saw our citizens working together side-by-side to address common security concerns and challenges. One example, out of the many examples of this security and defense relationship is the logistics and personnel support for the U.S. Navy fleet operations – the UAE ports are the most visited foreign ports for the U.S. Navy in the world.

This broader security relationship is critical to both of our countries. Like the economic issues, it is important that our citizens know more about our strong relationship in other areas. This tradition of deepened cooperation in the economic and security areas will be critical as the United States, the UAE, and the rest of the world address the significant economic challenges now facing us.

Now it is my distinct honor to introduce Her Highness Sheikha Lubna. I mentioned the leadership role that the UAE plays in so many ways. Sheikha Lubna embodies this leadership in three key areas:

  • First, in the area of Business leadership, Sheikha Lubna has over 20 years of information technology and management experience. In 2000, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid, Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, appointed her CEO of Tejari, which she guided to become the premier electronic business-to-business market place for emerging markets.
  • Second, in the area of Government leadership, Sheikha Lubna is the first woman in the UAE to hold a Cabinet-level position, first as the Economy Minister, and now in her current capacity as Foreign Trade Minister. She was also appointed Chairperson of the Board of Directors of the UAE’s Securities and Commodities Authority, serving from 2004 to 2008.
  • Third, Shiekha Lubna has also shown significant leadership in deepening the U.S.-UAE bilateral relationship on the cultural, as well as political and economic levels. This began with her own education, first receiving her Bachelor of Science degree from California State University at Chico and then her MBA from the American University of Sharjah.

Finally, Sheikha Lubna is also the recipient of numerous awards, such as being recognized as one of the “women to watch” by media like the Wall Street Journal, the Times of the U.K., and Forbes magazine. Ladies and Gentlemen, it is my distinct honor to present to you Her Highness Sheikha Lubna.

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