Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy, and US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross discussed the new US tariffs on aluminium and steel at a meeting in Washington over the week, according to a WAM statement. They also discussed ways to enhance economic cooperation and trade.

The meeting was attended by Yousuf Mana’a Saeed Al Otaiba, UAE Ambassador to the United States, US, Abdullah Bin Ahmad Al Saleh, Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Economy for Foreign Trade Affairs, Abdullah Kalban, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA), and Saud Al Nowais, Commercial Attache for the UAE to the US.

During the meeting, the two sides discussed recent procedures adopted by the US on imports of steel and aluminium, according to the statement. According to a Reuters report last week, the UAE is seeking an exclusion from the new tariffs.

The UAE is the third-largest exporter of aluminium to the United States, after China and Russia. The United States accounts for 5 per cent of total sales for Emirates Steel, the largest steel producer in the UAE. US President Donald Trump earlier this year announced import tariffs of 25 per cent on steel and 10 per cent on aluminium, but has already exempted neighbouring Canada and Mexico and offered to exclude allies.

Al Mansouri emphasised the strong bilateral relations between the UAE and the US, especially on the economic and trade levels as the UAE is one of the most important markets for US exports in the region.

“Given the figures of trade exchange between the two countries, we find that they doubled during the last decade after non-oil foreign trade amounted to about $24 billion in 2017, including $4 billion UAE exports,” he said.

Al Mansour added that the joint economic relations are based on a mutually beneficial model as the foreign trade between the two countries supports more than 119,000 jobs in the US, while the Emirati investments in the US contribute to the provision of local jobs and liquidity for the capital markets to enhance the possibilities of innovation and progress in a number of sectors.

The minister also indicated that the UAE’s direct investments in the US market reached about $27.5 billion, representing about 12,800 jobs in the US, while the total value of UAE investments in the US is about $100 billion.

Ross stressed the importance of bilateral relations between the two countries and their keenness on enhancing frameworks of the existing partnership in the best interests of the two countries.

— with inputs from Reuters