Agriculture, healthcare, and technology in focus as Missouri Governor visits UAE

DUBAI, 16th November, 2022 (WAM) -- The US-UAE Business Council and AmCham Abu Dhabi co-hosted a small luncheon on Tuesday, 15th November, in Dubai in honour of a delegation of Missouri officials, business leaders, and community partners led by Missouri Governor Michael L. Parson.

The lunch explored opportunities to further expand the strong Missouri-UAE business relationship, particularly in the agriculture, healthcare, and technology verticals.

On his fourth international trade mission since taking office in 2018, Governor Parson is visiting Israel, the UAE, and Greece to build relationships with key international figures and to promote Missouri’s strong capacity for trade. In 2021, exports from Missouri to the UAE totalled US$77 million, and the state is home to the American subsidiary of Emirates Global Aluminum (EGA), which is responsible for the largest aluminium UAE export to the US.

The luncheon event convened senior representatives from a handful of American companies with operations in both the UAE and Missouri, leadership from prominent Emirati and locally-owned companies, and US and UAE government officials to engage with members of the Missouri delegation. The delegation also included State Senator Brian C. Williams, State Representative Dean Plocher, Acting Director of the Missouri Department of Economic Development Maggie J. Kost, Director of the Missouri Department of Agriculture Christine L. Chinn, and other representatives of the Missouri private, public, and non-profit sectors.

Governor Parson and his team spoke about their goals and expectations for their time in the UAE. Their visit included meetings with key Emirati companies and government stakeholders, including the Office of the Minister of State for AI. The visit will conclude with a reception hosted by US Chargé d'Affaires Sean Murphy in association with the US-UAE Business Council and AmCham Abu Dhabi.

Members of the delegation spoke about the state of the Missouri-UAE trade relationship and further opportunities for companies in the UAE to invest and do business in Missouri. The Governor stressed the particular advantages Missouri provides to its businesses, including its high quality of life, low corporate taxes, and strategic location as a central hub for North America.

Christine L. Chinn, Director of the Missouri Department of Agriculture, engaged in a discussion about expanding bilateral agricultural and food business ties with leadership from key companies in the UAE agricultural and retail sector, such as LuLu Group, Mohebi Group, and Majid Al Futtaim as well as prominent US companies in this sector such as Tyson Foods and Aerofarms. Fadi Sbaiti, General Manager at AeroFarms, a pioneer in vertical farming technology, discussed the opening of Aerofarms’ first research and development facility in the UAE, being constructed in Abu Dhabi.

Discussion then turned to transformations in the healthcare landscape of the UAE Marwan AbdulAziz Janahi, Managing Director of Dubai Science Park, spoke about the UAE’s efforts to become a hub for research and innovation. Jamie Phares of Janssen, the pharmaceuticals branch of Johnson and Johnson (J&J), spoke about J&J's deep ties with both Missouri and the UAE.

Local representatives from Boeing and Ford, companies with significant manufacturing operations in Missouri, spoke about their companies’ successes in the UAE, providing advice to actors in the Missouri business community looking to expand to the UAE market.

The event concluded with a discussion of the success of Expo 2020 Dubai and the importance of both the Abraham Accords and COP28 to the UAE and the opportunities they provide for US-UAE business partnerships.