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Vol 1 2018

TAWASOL AmCham Abu Dhabi’s Newsletter ‘Connecting’ U.S. & U.A.E. Business

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ABOUT AMCHAM ABU DHABI AmCham Abu Dhabi, the trademark of the American Business Group of Abu Dhabi, is a member of the global network of American Chambers of Commerce. AmCham Abu Dhabi’s vision is to be an innovative organization creating trusted commercial partnerships that broaden U.S. - U.A.E. relationships. Our mission is to promote commerce, investment and goodwill between the United States of America, the membership, the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and the United Arab Emirates. AmCham Abu Dhabi is an independent, notfor-profit association comprised of Fortune 500 corporations, small and medium size companies and prominent business leaders and entrepreneurs. AmCham provides a uniquely situated platform through which executives pursue and discuss issues impacting business operations between the U.S. and U.A.E. The Board of Directors is elected annually by members and includes four officers and 11 members at large. The Chairman of the Board is the spokesperson for the membership. AmCham Abu Dhabi is managed by an Executive Director and professional staff.


CONTENT AmCham Abu Dhabi Board of Directors.........................................................


Features The Tax Man Cometh - VAT Comes to the UAE by John McGowan, Chairman, AmCham Abu Dhabi Legal Affairs Committee...........................


2018: The Year of Zayed.........................................................................................


Highlights Happy New Year 2018 from AmCham Abu Dhabi and Thank You for Your Support!...................................................................................................................


AmCham Abu Dhabi and American Business Council in Dubai Conduct Successful 2017 Advocacy Trade Mission in Washington, D.C.....................


AmCham Abu Dhabi Mobile Application..........................................................


AmCham Abu Dhabi holds 9th Annual Roundtable Summit....................


The American Business Council in Dubai and AmCham Abu Dhabi host 2017 Dubai Airshow Breakfast.................................................................................


AmCham Abu Dhabi hosts ADIPEC Kick-off Breakfast .....................................


Membership Member Focus: Interview with Platinum Member Elissar Farah Antonios.................


New Platinum and Corporate Members..............................................................


New Individual Members...........................................................................................


Member Rewards Program.......................................................................................


Events Theresa F. Weber Executive Director Christina Struller Membership and Events Director Christina Villaluz Accounting and Membership Manager Muhammed Ali Office Administrator Zenaida Carpio Events Coordinator Karim Damerje Communications Coordinator Rose Ann Laurel Administrative Coordinator

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Events Gallery...............................................................................................................


Upcoming Events and Sponsorship Opportunities.......................................


TAWASOL - VOL 1 2018 Newsletter Editor Communications Coordinator - Karim Damerje Editorial Submissions: AmCham Abu Dhabi Trademark of the American Business Group of Abu Dhabi P.O. Box 43710, Abu Dhabi, U.A.E. T: +971 2 631 3604 F: +971 2 633 0489 E: W: Copyright 2018 - AmCham Abu Dhabi





Sharief M. Fahmy

Maurice Wingo

Paul F. O’Brien


Vice Chairman


Chief Executive Officer

Vice President Marketing

Deputy Chief Investment Officer

Middle East General Enterprises

Dolphin, Occidental Petroleum

Abu Dhabi Investment Authority


John P. McGowan Jr.

Manaf Afyouni

Khuloud Al Nuwais


Board Member

Board Member

Legal Counsel and Founder

Chief Operating Officer

Chief Sustainability Officer

JPM Legal Advisors Worldwide Ltd.

Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi

Emirates Foundation

Nasser Al Osaiba

Elissar Farah Antonios

Peter Christensen

Board Member

Board Member

Board Member

Managing Partner, Abu Dhabi

Chief Executive Officer

Associate Vice Chancellor,

Global Advocacy and Legal Counsel

Citibank - UAE

Finance & Planning and CFO New York University Abu Dhabi


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Rula Dajani

Brian Lott

Peter Rafferty

Board Member

Board Member

Board Member

Country Director

Chief Communications Officer,

Senior Fund Manager


Group Communications

Abu Dhabi Investment Authority

Mubadala Investment Company

Elias Sayah

Donald M. Wix, Jr.

Dareen Zoughbi

Board Member

Board Member

Board Member



Director, GE Healthcare Partners,

Sayah Engineering MENA

International Customer Relations

Middle East Region

Lockheed Martin Global, Inc.

General Electric


Dao M. Le

Theresa F. Weber

Regional Senior Commercial

Executive Director

Officer for the Gulf and Counselor

AmCham Abu Dhabi

for Commercial Affairs U.S. Embassy Abu Dhabi

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The Tax Man Cometh — VAT Comes to the UAE

by John P. McGowan, Chairman, AmCham Abu Dhabi Legal Affairs Committee

It is an American maxim that “In this World, nothing is certain but death and taxes”. The rule now applies in the United Arab Emirates. The UAE Value Added Tax (“VAT”) law was promulgated in August 2017 [Federal Decree-Law No. (8) of 2017], and the VAT Executive Regulations were issued in November 2017 [Cabinet Decision No. (52) of 2017]. The Federal Tax Authority (“FTA”), the UAE’s version of the US Internal Revenue Service, has the mandate from the UAE Government to administer the VAT law and to ensure compliance.

• Supply of certain education services • Supply of certain healthcare services

Here are some key elements of the VAT law and regulations.

Filing VAT Returns: Taxpayers must file VAT returns online using eServices. Registered businesses are also required to utilize approved software to account for VAT, in accordance with the Requirements Document for Tax Accounting Software. The document was issued by the FTA in October 2017 and includes the required functionalities within tax accounting software that are needed to generate VAT returns, automatically file VAT returns and produce the FTA Audit files.

Overview of VAT: One way to explain VAT is to compare it with sales tax. VAT is a consumption tax, just like sales tax, but there are some key differences. Sales taxes are only imposed on transactions involving goods, and only on the final sale to the consumer. In contrast, VAT is imposed on goods and services and is charged throughout the supply chain, including on the final sale. VAT is also imposed on imports of goods and services so as to ensure that a level playing field is maintained for domestic providers of those same goods and services. Businesses charge VAT to all of their customers (Output Tax) and incur VAT on goods and services that they buy from suppliers (Input Tax). The difference between these sums (Net VAT) is reclaimed from or paid to the government, as the case may be. Registration for VAT: All businesses with annual turnover of AED 375,000 or more were required to register (on-line) for VAT by December 4, 2017 in order to obtain their tax registration number (TRN) by the start date of VAT (01/01/18). The late registration penalty is AED 20,000. Many businesses have not yet registered. It remains to be seen how strictly the government will enforce the penalty. Effective Date & Rate for VAT: VAT in the UAE is payable, effective January 1, 2018 at a standard rate of five percent (5%). As a general consumption tax, VAT will apply to the majority of transactions of goods and services (including imports), unless specifically exempted or zero-rated. VAT at Zero” Rate: VAT will be charged at 0% in respect of the following main categories of supplies: • Exports of goods and services to outside the GCC • International transportation, and related supplies • Supplies of certain sea, air and land means of transportation (such as aircrafts and ships) • Supply or import of investment precious metals (gold, silver and platinum having 99% purity) • Converted residential buildings, that are supplied for the first time within 3 years of the completion of the conversion


VAT Exemptions: The following categories of supplies are exempt from VAT: • • • •

Select financial services Residential buildings Bare land Local passenger transport

Treatment of Real Estate: VAT treatment of real estate depends on whether it is a commercial or residential property. Supplies (including sales or leases) of commercial properties are taxable at the standard VAT rate of 5%. However, supplies of residential properties are generally exempt from VAT. Treatment of Islamic Finance: For VAT purposes, the treatment of Islamic finance products will be aligned with the treatment of similar standard financial service. Penalties for Non-Compliance: Penalties will imposed for non-compliance. Examples include:


• A person failing to register for VAT when required to do so • A person failing to submit a VAT tax return or make a payment within the required period • A person failing to keep the records required • Tax evasion offences where a person performs a deliberate act or omission with the intention of violating the provisions of the VAT law and regulations More Information: More information on VAT in the UAE can be obtained from the following sites: • VAT Questions: Pages/VATQuestions.aspx • Requirements Document for Tax Accounting Software: • Awareness Session Materials: ae/awareness_session_material.aspx • Quick References

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2018: The Year of Zayed The year 2018 marks 100 years since the birth of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the Founding Father of the UAE, who passed away in 2004. To commemorate this historic national occasion, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates has declared that 2018 will officially be known in the UAE as the Year of Zayed. The Year of Zayed will feature a series of events and initiatives in the UAE and internationally, designed to commemorate the memory of the late Sheikh Zayed, and showcase his impact and legacy, and promote the values that he displayed throughout his life in creative and interactive ways. Consistent with the values of the late Sheikh Zayed, it is intended that the Year of Zayed will involve people of all ages, nationalities, faiths and backgrounds in the UAE and internationally. The objectives of the Year of Zayed include: • • • •

Educate and create greater awareness of the life and achievements of the late Sheikh Zayed among local, regional and international audiences. Raise the profile of the late Sheikh Zayed to that of one of the world’s greatest leaders and most inspirational figures. Reinforce the status of the late Sheikh Zayed as an eternal source of national pride and a powerful symbol of the UAE around the world. Commemorate and honour the legacy of the late Sheikh Zayed through projects and initiatives that are consistent with his vision and values.


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Happy New Year 2018 from AmCham Abu Dhabi and Thank You for Your Support! AmCham Abu Dhabi wishes you a happy, healthy and prosperous 2018! As we kick off the New Year, we look forward to your continued support of our community initiatives in the year ahead. AmCham members both companies and individuals - have a long history of contributing to the local community through corporate social responsibility and by volunteering their time. We are grateful for your support and want to take the opportunity to thank you for your support of our community initiatives over the past year. Excellence Awards Gala - January 2017 Thank you for buying tickets to last year’s Gala and participating in the live and silent auctions at the Jumeirah at Etihad Towers. Through the generosity of AmCham Abu Dhabi members and sponsors, funds were raised for the Emirates Red Crescent, in support of local U.A.E. programs and the Make-A-Wish Foundation, in support of ongoing efforts to bring comfort and hope to children with life-threatening medical conditions. In addition, scholarship awards were given to students attending the American Community School of Abu Dhabi and St. Joseph’s School. Generous sponsors included: Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi; Lockheed Martin Global Inc.; Northrop Grumman; The Captain’s Club; Berkeley Middle East Holding; Raytheon International; Harris Corporation; Middle East General Enterprises; Oshkosh Defense; Sayah Engineering MENA; Etihad Airways; Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority; AV Concepts; Dinner in the Sky; Sarky Jewelry; Spinneys and The New York Times.

principles and your success. Our country is fortunate in being able to call the United States of America a friend. Our political, commercial, and educational linkages are deeply rooted in confidence and trust and provide a strong and stable foundation for our friendly relations, now and in the future.” He added “The U.A.E. and every other nation that has studied the U.S. Declaration of Independence and the history of the United States recognize the necessary connection between freedom and happiness. The friendship between the U.S. and the U.A.E. will surely endure as we each in our own way reinforce the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

Interns and Volunteers from NYIT and NYU Thank you for volunteering at events and in the AmCham Abu Dhabi office. Students from New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) and the New York Institute of Technology Abu Dhabi (NYIT) as well as recent college graduates provided much needed assistance to our membership, events and communications departments. Your hard work and dedication is very much appreciated! Board Members and Committee Chairpersons Thank you for volunteering your time and expertise to make sure AmCham Abu Dhabi is the leading international chamber of commerce in the U.A.E. AmCham’s nine board committees and eight industry roundtable committees provide unique insights not only into U.S.-U.A.E. business relations but also to giving back to the community.

Thanksgiving Initiative - November 2017 Thank you for hosting U.S. service-members during the Thanksgiving holiday. As part of AmCham Abu Dhabi’s annual Thanksgiving tradition, representatives from member companies opened their homes and hotels and shared Thanksgiving celebrations with U.S. service-members. American Independence Day Celebration - July 2017 Thank you for attending our American Independence Day celebration, our largest community event of the year. We celebrated with guests from the U.S., U.A.E. and many other countries. In his remarks, H.E. Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan said, “I am deeply honored to be celebrating with you tonight. We in the United Arab Emirates have always admired your


Falcon Club & Platinum Members A special thank you to our Falcon Club & Platinum Members in 2017. Your generous support enabled AmCham Abu Dhabi to thrive and give back to the community. Very truly yours,

Theresa F. Weber Executive Director AmCham Abu Dhabi

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GREATER HEIGHTS. With over 50 years of experience in the Middle East, we have forged close partnerships to combine global best practice that is uniquely tailored to our region. When it comes to success in aerospace, we know that we can reach greater heights, together.

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AmCham Abu Dhabi and American Business Council in Dubai Conduct Successful 2017 Advocacy Trade Mission in Washington, D.C.

The American chambers of commerce in the U.A.E., AmCham Abu Dhabi and the American Business Council in Dubai, conducted a high-profile trade mission in Washington, D.C. from October 2-6, 2017. The combined delegation represented over 1,000 corporate members as the voice of American business in the U.A.E. Continuing a 17-year tradition of conducting advocacy missions for the benefit of AmCham members, the Abu Dhabi delegation was led by Sharief Fahmy, Chairman of AmCham Abu Dhabi, and Michael Dishman, Chairman of the U.S.-U.A.E. Public Affairs Committee’s U.S. Working Group. The Dubai delegation was represented by Bilal Sabouni, CEO of ABC Dubai, on behalf of American Business Council members across Dubai and the Northern Emirates. Members of the U.A.E. delegation represented a variety of industry sectors including accounting, construction, defense, engineering, finance, IT, legal, logistics, services, and trade. The delegates emphasized “Expats = Trade = Jobs” policy positions in 50+ meetings with Congress, Administration officials and trade and industry associations. Key stakeholders were informed about the consequences on trade, investment and expatriate issues as Congress formulates trade and tax laws and the Government takes policy positions or implements regulations. As Congress debates territorial-based tax reform for corporations, trade mission delegates supported the inclusion of American expatriates in proposed changes. This would enable Americans working overseas to compete equally against counterparts from other industrialized nations whose tax policies support their citizens living abroad. As the number one market for U.S. exports in the Middle East and North Africa, the U.A.E. trade relationship has supported hundreds of thousands of jobs in the U.S. Delegates underscored the need to implement regulation reforms to further bolster U.S. exports to the region, thereby creating thousands more jobs in the U.S. Sharief Fahmy summarized the key policy objective


underlying the Trade Mission’s agenda: “In today’s competitive global market, it is important to support American citizens abroad who represent U.S. companies exporting goods and services or work for local firms who buy American products. Our message is simple: Americans Abroad = Exports = U.S. Job Creation.” Bilal Sabouni noted “This is the first time in years we have seen such optimism and confidence for tax reform as well as an overall appetite to ensure that the interests of American businesses and citizens overseas are represented in the legislative process.” On Capitol Hill, meetings were conducted with Members of Congress, Chiefs of Staff and legislative aides in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, including: House Ways and Means, Appropriations, and Foreign Affairs committees, and the Americans Abroad Caucus; and Senate Finance, Appropriations and Foreign Relations committees. Meetings with Administration officials were held at the U.S. Departments of Treasury and Commerce as well as the U.S. Export-Import Bank. Briefings and policy discussions were also conducted with trade and industry associations, research institutes and think tanks, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Heritage Foundation and the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington. To honor the strong U.S.-U.A.E. relationship the delegation started the week with a meeting at the U.A.E. Embassy in Washington, D.C., and capped it off with a reception on Capitol Hill. The reception was supported by AmCham Abu Dhabi, the American Business Council in Dubai and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Representatives from all three organizations gave remarks. The guest of honor, Representative Steve Chabot, Chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Small Business, added his support and highlighted the strong U.S.-U.A.E. relationship. To enhance our advocacy efforts throughout the year, AmCham Abu Dhabi and ABC Dubai have engaged Williams and Jensen, a Washington, D.C. based highprofile lobby firm.

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AmCham Abu Dhabi Mobile Application AmCham Abu Dhabi was the first trade association in the U.A.E. to launch a mobile application as part of its member benefits, making it easier to access members, events and our popular Member Rewards Program. The AmCham Abu Dhabi App is available on both IOS and Android devices and can easily be downloaded by searching “AmCham Abu Dhabi” in the App Store and on Google Play. We have taken three major services of AmCham Abu Dhabi and simplified it for the executive on the go. • • •

Members: Members get instant access to the AmCham Abu Dhabi database. Connecting with AmCham Abu Dhabi Members has never been easier. Events: We have created a platform to allow members to stay updated on all AmCham Abu Dhabi events. Members can view event details, date, location (with GPS directions), and can also register their interest in attending an event. Member Rewards and Discounts: Members can stay up to date and take advantage of our exclusive discount program. Members can also easily present their membership card to the vendor, as it is included on the app and each vendor is listed with GPS coordinates, so members will always know what’s nearby. In addition, users will also receive pop up notifications once a new discount is added.

Say Hello to the AmCham Abu Dhabi App Your Personal Link to AmCham Abu Dhabi


My Profile

Get Instant Access to AmCham Abu Dhabi Database

View Your Profile and Membership Card

Contact Us


Stay in Touch with AmCham Abu Dhabi

Stay Updated on All AmCham Abu Dhabi Events

Social Media

Member Discounts

Get the Latest Updates on AmCham Abu Dhabi Social Media Channels

Take Advantage of Exclusive Member Discounts

Download the App on Search for “AmCham Abu Dhabi” An AmCham Abu Dhabi Member Benefit

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AmCham Abu Dhabi holds 9th Annual Roundtable Summit

AmCham Abu Dhabi held its 9th Annual Roundtable Summit at the Yas Viceroy on October 18, 2017. Over 200 leading business executives, entrepreneurs, academics, thought leaders and government officials participated in this prestigious event and discussed business opportunities and challenges in Abu Dhabi. The Summit, hosted by AmCham Abu Dhabi Roundtables Committee Chairman Brian Lott, began with a plenary session featuring H.E. Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, U.A.E. Minister of State for Federal National Council Affairs; The Honorable Barbara A. Leaf, U.S. Ambassador to the U.A.E.; John Defterios, Emerging Markets Editor and Anchor, CNN; and Sharief Fahmy, Chairman of the AmCham Abu Dhabi Board of Directors. During her keynote interview with Brian Lott, H.E. Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, U.A.E. Minister of State for Federal National Council Affairs discussed a wide range of issues including her role as the key link and facilitator between the Cabinet and Federal National Council, being an advocate for youth and female involvement and participation, and the U.A.E.’s long term goals and planning as it relates to its vision. The thought provoking and insightful interview was very timely given the U.A.E.’s leadership recent twoday government offsite, where the long term strategy for the U.A.E. was unveiled. Regarding the creative sector, Minister Al Kaabi noted “For us, it has always been about changing the culture and enforcing that change so that we can have a sustainable creative sector, unlike the oil and trade


sector. The creative sector will enrich what is going on in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and the U.A.E., especially with having The Louvre opening soon and with the partnership of institutes such as New York University Abu Dhabi, that also assist us in shaping a sustainable sector.’’ Minister Al Kaabi also discussed the important role of engaging youth. “In my job in the ministry, one of the things that I look at is our social media. I look to see if our channels are being productive, if they are delivering a clear message, how can we make it better and how can we include the youth to participate.” Other topics discussed included Minister Al Kaabi’s recent appointment as Head of the Media and Marketing Committee to the Special Olympics, which will be held in Abu Dhabi. “Having the Special Olympics in 2019 is something that will help Abu Dhabi and the region understand what being inclusive is,” said Minister Al Kaabi. “It has been an honor for us to be chosen. We will have committees looking at how the Special Olympics can not only be a great event but also how we can leave a legacy behind.” U.S. Ambassador to the U.A.E. Barbara Leaf addressed the crowd and discussed the growing U.S.-U.A.E. relationship. “During the three years that I have been Ambassador, the U.S.-U.A.E. relationship has dee p e n e d p o l i t i c a l l y, m i l i t a r i l y,

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culturally, and of course, commercially,” said Ambassador Leaf. “You should all be proud of the role you have played in this regard. While it is a turbulent time globally, the positive relationships you all have forged and continue to nurture undergird the robust U.A.E.-U.S. commercial relationship.”

The lively Q&A session also included hot topics such as the Trump Administration’s international trade policy, the shift of trade with China and the east and its impact on U.S. trade in the Gulf region and the future role of cryptocurrencies and the role of block chain.

“With over $25 billion in two-way trade, the U.A.E. is America’s largest export destination in the Arab World. The U.A.E. is now America’s largest source of foreign investment from the Arab World. While these trade statistics are impressive, what I find more impressive is the depth and breadth of the relationship. The U.A.E. currently trades with all 50 states, and this trade creates ties and binds across numerous sectors. More than 1,500 U.S. firms currently have operations in the U.A.E., and over 60,000 Americans live and work here.”

The Summit was opened by AmCham Abu Dhabi Chairman Sharief Fahmy who noted “For nine years AmCham Abu Dhabi has been conducting this important and influential business event for top executives and government representatives, strengthening the U.S.-U.A.E. commercial relationship. I am confident that the dialogue today among innovative thought leaders will help the local business community support the U.A.E. with its economic development and to achieve its Vision 2021.”

Ambassador Leaf also highlighted the importance of the open dialogue between business and government. “AmCham’s sector committees are reflective of this depth and breadth; today the committees are meeting on everything from health to construction, to education and defense. Our participation in the sector committee meetings and at AmCham events throughout the year allow us to get past talking points and headlines and truly understand the business environment that American companies face, and to represent your interest in our meetings and activities.” The spotlight Q&A session with John Defterios, CNN Emerging Markets Editor and Anchor, featured an interactive video presentation highlighting the economics of the region as part of the new Silk Route, the growing economic and stronger political alliance with Saudi Arabia as well as developments in the energy sector. One important product of the close relationship between the U.S. and U.A.E. is the 1-2-3 agreement on nuclear energy. Defterios showed a clip of his recent visit to the Barakah nuclear plant being built in the western region of the U.A.E. “Strategically the U.A.E. built up so much trust in the U.S. role with the 1-2-3 agreement on nuclear energy. The U.S. was the first signatory to say that they trust that the U.A.E will not enrich beyond nuclear energy. This is a phenomenal level of trust between the two countries,” said John Defterios. “I see the U.A.E. as a great connector, not just by the airline industry itself but by the level of port trade that comes to the U.A.E. Two-thirds of the cargo traffic that comes to the Middle East and North Africa comes through the U.A.E. That cannot be surpassed anymore, that is such a locked-in facility. That strategy has been a terrific trail blazer for the U.A.E. and I think so far with a two decade lead on everyone else, I do not see the U.A.E being surpassed. The U.S. alliance is very important on many different levels, as we have noted today.’’

Other highlights of the Summit included panel discussions with top industry executives who reported on the findings of the industry roundtable break-out sessions. During those sessions industry leaders discussed the challenges to trade and investment in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, proposed potential solutions, and identified the key stakeholders’ necessary to implement them. The following sectors were covered at the Summit: 1) Banking and Finance; 2) Cyber Innovation; 3) Defense, Aerospace and Security; 4) Education and Professional Training; 5) Energy, Water, Oil and Gas; 6) Engineering, Construction and Project Management; 7) Healthcare and Insurance; and 8) Hospitality and Tourism. The issues and recommendations identified in each of the eight industry sectors will be compiled into a Roundtable Report that will be presented to U.S. and U.A.E. policymakers and government officials. The feedback seeks to strengthen competitiveness in Abu Dhabi and increase trade and investment between the U.S. and U.A.E. AmCham Abu Dhabi, which has been conducting Roundtable sessions since 2003, is a pioneer in the field promoting dialogues that impact U.S. business and trade in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. Top corporate sponsors of the event were: Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, CH2M, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Global Advocacy and Legal Counsel, Oshkosh Defense, Fragomen, Middle East General Enterprises (MGE) and UPS.

John Defterios also discussed the importance of trade with Asia. “Oil is rising 1.4 million barrels a day in terms of fresh demands and that is still very robust, much higher than most people thought. The reason is that 1 million of that demand is coming from Asia, and the three pillars of that are China, Japan and South Korea.”

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The American Business Council in Dubai and AmCham Abu Dhabi host 2017 Dubai Airshow Breakfast featuring the Director of the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA)

The American Business Council in Dubai (ABC Dubai) and American Chamber of Commerce Abu Dhabi (AmCham Abu Dhabi) held a high-level breakfast on November 12 at Dubai South Headquarters, just before the opening of the 2017 Dubai Airshow. Over 200 prominent members of the American business community and top military officers, government officials and leading defense executives participated. The highlight of the industry-focused event was an informative keynote address by the Director of the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), Lieutenant General Charles Hooper on the importance of security cooperation.

Barbara A. Leaf took the stage. In her welcome address, Ambassador Leaf hailed U.S.-U.A.E. partnerships in trade and commerce, particularly in the aviation and defense sectors. “Civil aviation sales have accounted for a significant amount of U.S. exports to the U.A.E. in recent years. Last year alone, U.S. exports of civil aviation products to the U.A.E. totaled $4.6 billion, making the U.A.E. the 6th largest export market for American aerospace firms. The United Arab Emirates is one of America’s largest customers under the Foreign Military Sales program, with 95 cases valued at $22 billion.”

The Breakfast was held on the first day of the Dubai Airshow to facilitate networking and collaboration between locally-based companies in the sector and visiting U.S. aerospace and defense industry executives. Attending this high profile event has become a tradition among U.S. military leaders, diplomats, and local and visiting industry CEOs.

“The Dubai Airshow is truly a marquee event with tremendous drawing power. This is largely due to the U.A.E.’s strategic location at the crossroads of Asia, Africa and Europe, and as the gateway to the Middle East and South Asia region, but it is also testament to the visionary leadership and outstanding partners we have in the Emirates. I am sure many business executives here today can attest, this country offers great potential.”

Some of the distinguished attendees included U.S. Ambassador to the U.A.E., The Honorable Barbara A. Leaf; U.S. Consul General in Dubai, The Honorable Paul Malik; Defense Attaché, Brigadier General Miguel Correa; and senior representatives from the Air Force, Army, Navy and U.S. Department of Commerce. Following opening remarks by the President of the ABC Dubai Board Ramsey Jurdi and Chairman of AmCham Abu Dhabi Board Sharief M. Fahmy, Ambassador


During LTG Hooper’s keynote speech, he highlighted the importance of DSCA’s relationship with industry noting, “Driven by a strong commitment to providing our international partners with the best training and equipment that the United States can provide, DSCA strives to maintain a close working relationship with industry.” LTG Hooper continued, “Today, the convergence of Congressional mandates with the

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Department’s emphasis on strengthening our partners is a call to action. We must seize this opportunity to fortify our status as the Security Cooperation partner of choice.” The Dubai Airshow is the premier showcase of aviation and air defense products in the Middle East and typically results in billions of dollars of aircraft and defense contracts. Ramsey Jurdi of ABC Dubai and Sharief M. Fahmy of AmCham Abu Dhabi commended the strong ongoing commitment that American aviation and aerospace companies have in the region, particularly to Dubai Airshow. Jurdi noted that “The U.S.-U.A.E. aerospace and defense relationship is a lynchpin of the overall trade relationship and a pillar for further development,” and Fahmy remarked “The enduring commitment led to the U.A.E. importing U.S. commercial aerospace equipment in 2016 that support approximately 32,000 U.S. jobs.” ABC Dubai and AmCham Abu Dhabi are proud to partner with the Dubai Airshow, which uniquely showcases American business opportunities in the U.A.E., and acts as a platform to allow for a greater U.S. commercial presence in the region. This event was sponsored by Dubai Airport Freezone, FedEx Express, Lockheed Martin, Parsons, Boeing International Corporation, Orbital ATK, Middle East General Enterprises, Raytheon, Telephonics Corporation and Harris Corporation, with support from Kallman Worldwide and Dubai South.

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AmCham Abu Dhabi hosts ADIPEC Kick-off Breakfast featuring the Executive Director of Upstream and Integrated Business at Mubadala Investment Company

AmCham Abu Dhabi kicked off the 2017 Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference (ADIPEC) with a breakfast event on November 13 at the Dusit Thani Abu Dhabi. Top business executives, distinguished Emirati guests, and U.S. government officials attended the event including the Lt. Governor of Washington Cyrus Habib, Danielle Caltabiano, Director - Energy Programs, U.S. Department of Commerce and The Honorable Barbara A. Leaf, U.S. Ambassador to the U.A.E. The highlight of the industry focused event was the keynote address by Alyazia Al Kuwaiti, Executive Director of Upstream and Integrated Business at Mubadala Investment Company.

Featured keynote speaker, Alyazia Al Kuwaiti, Executive Director of Upstream and Integrated Business at Mubadala Investment Company gave an overview of the recent merger between Mubadala Development Company and IPIC and their current investment portfolio. “Kicking off an eventful week at ADIPEC, Mubadala is pleased to share highlights of its global portfolio at the AmCham Abu Dhabi Kick-Off Breakfast today. Our participation at ADIPEC this year marks Mubadala Investment Company’s first appearance together with several of its asset companies, and we look forward to engaging with industry professionals and key stakeholders at the Mubadala stand.”

Maurice Wingo, AmCham Abu Dhabi Vice Chairman, officially opened the kick-off breakfast and discussed how the U.S. oil production, importing and exporting has changed over the past decade and that the industry has adapted. This ties in well with the 2017 ADIPEC theme of forging ties and driving growth.

An interactive Q&A session followed Alyazia Al Kuwaiti’s keynote address, where a variety of topics in the oil and gas industry were discussed.

During his welcome remarks Sharief Fahmy, AmCham Abu Dhabi Chairman, discussed the importance of ADIPEC as a platform for enhancing U.S.-U.A.E. bilateral trade. “The U.S. Partnership Pavilion at ADIPEC is a great platform for American companies to showcase their products in the U.A.E. and region. Being a part of this exhibition is key to strengthening and growing the U.S.-U.A.E. commercial relationship. Thank you to all American companies for being here and supporting ADIPEC this year.” During her address, Ambassador Leaf discussed current U.S.-U.A.E. collaborations in the oil and gas industry. “Today we are working together on numerous projects, including the Zakum Development Company, the Shah Sour Gas Field, and Hail and Ghasha. I trust that this year’s ADIPEC will produce even more opportunities for American and Emirati companies to do business that will further strengthen our bonds.”

ADIPEC is one of the world’s largest oil and gas shows. Held at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Center, ADIPEC 2016 attracted more than 2,034 exhibiting companies from 25 international country pavilions and 96,374 attendees across the four days of the show, creating a platform for petroleum professions worldwide to drive and support innovation and bilateral trade within the industry. Last year the U.S. Partnership Pavilion was the second largest at ADIPEC with 101 exhibitors. The high-level ADIPEC Kick-off event was made possible thanks to sponsor G&W Equipment Trading L.L.C. with support from Kallman Worldwide Inc. and Mubadala Investment Company.

Ambassador Leaf added “I was pleased to see that so many American speakers are participating on ADIPEC’s panels, again offering an opportunity for the U.S. to showcase its knowledge and innovation, and I was equally pleased and gratified that ADIPEC is organizing a Women in Energy session to highlight the important contributions and accomplishments of women in the sector.”


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AmCham Abu Dhabi, member of the global network of American Chambers of Commerce, has been advocating the development of trade, commerce, and investment between the United States of America, the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and the United Arab Emirates since 1986. AmCham is an independent non-profit association of companies and individuals, including Fortune 500 companies and prominent business leaders. As the largest western trade association in Abu Dhabi, AmCham provides a unique platform through which executives pursue common business interests. Through the support of its members, AmCham is the recognized voice of U.S. business in Abu Dhabi. Benefits include: • • • • •

Increased American trade and business opportunities Insight into U.S. and U.A.E. trade policies High profile business and community events Customized business services Sponsorship opportunities @AmChamAbuDhabi AmCham-Abu-Dhabi For more information, visit,


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P.O Box 43710, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates



Member Focus: Interview with Platinum Member Elissar Farah Antonios Chief Executive Officer Citibank - UAE Board Member AmCham Abu Dhabi By Karim Damerje Q. Citi is a leading global bank, can you tell us about Citi and its history in the UAE? A. Citi, the leading global bank, has approximately 200 million customer accounts and does business in more than 160 countries and jurisdictions. Citi has had a presence in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Dubai since 1964 and been active in the Middle East region since 1955. Our journey in the UAE started in earnest in 1964 when Citibank, a member of Citi, opened its first branch in Dubai, and in 1971 established a presence in Abu Dhabi. Since then, the bank has been known for delivering excellence and consistently introducing worldclass banking products and services to the UAE market. The Bank has been a partner in the country’s progress for nearly five decades and has been instrumental in advancing US-UAE commercial ties by supporting US companies with substantial operations in the UAE.

Q. What are the core values of Citi? A. Citi’s mission is to serve as a trusted partner to our clients by responsibly providing financial services that enable growth and economic progress. We strive to earn and maintain the public’s trust by constantly adhering to the highest ethical standards. Our core activities are safeguarding assets, lending money, making payments and accessing the capital markets on behalf of our clients. We have 200 years of experience helping our clients meet the world’s toughest challenges and embrace its greatest opportunities. These capabilities create an obligation to act responsibly, do everything possible to create the best outcomes, and prudently manage risk. If we fall short, we will take decisive action and learn from our experience.

Q. How do you see the importance of having a global American bank in the region? How does that influence Citi’s vision? A. The Middle East and Africa (MEA) is an economically diverse region which is rapidly transforming. The presence of a global American bank in the region provides access to a wide range of banking products and services through global network coverage to enable growth and economic progress. Overall, we continue to place the MEA region among our globally most significant markets. We are committed to deepening


the region’s capital markets, and to delivering all the benefits of Citi’s global reach to our clients in the region. With a full team of professionals on the ground covering the entire region, we have been providing innovative solutions and advice that meet the complex needs of our diverse client base, from ground breaking acquisitions to entering the international capital markets. Furthermore, we are looking at growth in the UAE market through heavy investment towards digitization and working with the digital ecosystem in our consumer business.

Q. What project of Citi in the UAE are you most proud of? A. In May 2017 Citi acted as Joint Mandated Lead Arranger and Joint Bookrunner on the $3 billion financing raised by Airport Financing Company which is 100% owned by the Government of Dubai to support the expansion of Dubai International (“DXB”) and Al Maktoum (“DWC”) airports. This transaction was the largest ever airport financing in MENA and one of the most important infrastructure projects ever developed in Dubai. The deal was ranked “Best Airports Financing Deal in the Middle East” at the Airline Economics Growth Frontiers Dubai 2017 conference. In the same month, Citi UAE hosted Citi’s firstever Tech for Integrity Challenge Demo Day in Abu Dhabi, hosted by Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM). The city has been recently ranked as the top FinTech Hub for the MENA region and decision to hold the event here was due to commitment to promoting public sector transparency, accountability and integrity.

Q. What has been your career path at Citi? A. I joined Citi in 2005 as Head of Citi Private Bank in Abu Dhabi and then was given the UAE portfolio to manage. In 2012, I was asked to relocate to Lebanon to serve as CEO for Citibank Lebanon until 2015. In 2016, I was appointed as CEO for Citibank UAE, a role which offered a great opportunity to apply my vision because of Citi’s diverse and complex businesses in the UAE including Institutional Client Group as well as Global Consumer Bank.

Q. What is the most important lesson you have had to learn as a leader? Have you faced any obstacles in your career? A. The most important lessons that I learned were to

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surround myself with talented and smart colleagues, maintain an open door policy, talk less and listen more and continuously challenge myself to get out of my comfort zone. As for obstacles in my career, I haven’t really faced any, but I have faced certain challenges. This is exactly what makes the journey interesting.

more than 500 Citi UAE volunteers joined their nearly 100,000 colleagues around the world in participating in Citi’s annual Global Community Day. In the Middle East and African region, events were oriented toward reducing education inequality and empowering youth under the e3 “educate, empower and engage” campaign.

Q. How long have you been a resident in the UAE? Can you tell us more about your history here?

Q. What is the best part of being a Platinum Member of AmCham? How does the AmCham Membership help Citi?

A. I have spent the majority of my personal and professional life in the UAE. My parents relocated to Abu Dhabi in 1966 and since then I have maintained my residency here. I am no stranger to the UAE and indeed refer to it as “A Home away from Home”. The leadership in the country have welcomed us with open arms as expatriates from diverse backgrounds and beliefs, a true reflection of a very tolerant and inclusive nation. I was fortunate to see the transformation of the UAE and to be one of the first students to attend the private schools as they were being established in the country. I also witnessed the first shopping mall and movie theatre. At the time we were founding members of the British Club, the only beach and sports club in Abu Dhabi. My father was one of the early expatriates who contributed to the growth of the UAE, and although he passed away in 2003 in Abu Dhabi, is still remembered by many until today.

A. Let me first congratulate AmCham Abu Dhabi for establishing a platform for private sector players and captains of industry to get together and exchange experiences and ideas for the benefit of the UAE economy. Furthermore, I see this platinum membership particularly beneficial as a thought leadership forum which could evolve into an advocacy body speaking on behalf of American affiliated businesses active in the county. And, I do encourage fellow members to consider an upgrade to this level.

Q. What do you do to relax after work? Do you have any particular hobbies or interests? A. I connect with my loved ones, which is usually impossible to do during working hours. I also stay active and fit by going to the gym and doing indoor cycling group workouts.

Q. What Corporate Social Responsibility activities do you participate in? A. At Citi, we intentionally use the word “Citizenship” to describe Corporate Social Responsibility efforts because the word reflects a sense of belonging to communities that extend well beyond our firm; a longstanding recognition that our success is inseparably linked to the positive outcomes and progress we can help enable for others and an acknowledgment that we take our responsibility to use our many strengths and resources to contribute to the greater public good very seriously. I am proud to have participated in the following citizenship initiatives: In partnership with the Manchester City Football Club, Citi UAE and the Emirates Foundation, the Kafa’at Program hosted a two-day community football coaching and leadership workshop for aspiring sports leaders at New York University Abu Dhabi. The training hosted close to 30 young Emiratis and focused on community football coaching with in class and onthe-pitch workshops on leadership, healthy living, life building skills, practical planning and using football as a tool to positively impact social issues.

Call for submissions: Do you have something you would like to share with AmCham Abu Dhabi members? We accept submission of articles from members. Inclusion in the newsletter is not guaranteed. Submit information to:

In addition, each year, tens of thousands of Citi volunteers, their friends and families join together for Global Community Day which is an opportunity to use their time, skills and expertise to make a difference in their cities. The annual activities focus on a range of local needs, from urban revitalization to environmental conservation to literacy and education. In June 2017,

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NEW PLATINUM MEMBERS Elissar Farah Antonios

Tallal Ragab Abou Sheara


Head of Corporate Banking, Abu Dhabi

Raeda Al Sarayreh

Imad Feghali

Regional Director of Corporate Affairs Vice President, Growth & Sales Middle East & Asia Pacific UAE Country Manager

Stefan Fuchs

Wai Wong

General Manager

Cluster Director of Sales - Abu Dhabi

Michael Davis

Y. Sudhir Shetty

Chief Operating Officer

President, UAE Exchange

Roland Duerr

Antoine Nassrallah

Managing Director

Assistant Director of Sales

Julien Gonzalvez

Maya Hoteit

General Manager

Director of Sales

Stefan Soennichsen

Sinan Bozkurt

General Manager

Director of Sales


NEW AFFILIATE CORPORATE MEMBERS Valerie Radford Cox VIP Shipper Middle East Representative


Ben Blamire Commercial Director

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Cinar Kurra CEO

Yasir ElKabbany Territory Manager - MENA Region

Olivier Thomas

Mohammad Barakat

General Manager

Director of Marketing

Raouf Khalil Chief Executive Officer

Asif Q. Moosa

James L. Daniels

Account Director Middle East and Africa

VP, International Business


Amer Battikhi

Brian Dean

Director of the UAE Patriot Program

Regional Managing Director




Natalya Dean

Joshua Denney

David Dietz

Director of Security Assistance

Export Compliance Officer

Managing Director

U.S. Embassy

Knowledge International, LLC


Sherrish Holloman

Karen A. Jones

Kristin Kurtz

Education Advisor

Director - Trade Compliance

Managing Director, Legal

Abu Dhabi Education Council


Middle East and Africa

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated

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FedEx Express



John Lancia

Elizabeth McGuffee

Nicholas Mercado

Managing Director

Director of Institutional Advancement

Manager – Corporate Strategy, Marketing

GE Military Aviation, MEA

American Community School of Abu Dhabi

and Communications

General Electric

LeasePlan Emirates L.L.C.

Zachary Parker

Dr. Candice T. Render

Michael Repetski

Sr. Manager, Global Trade

Educational Psychologist

Senior Business Development Manager


Head of Rehabilitation

Oshkosh Defense

American Center for Psychiatry & Neurology

Issa M. Toubbeh

Roberta Wertman

Randa Zuhdi

Manager of Projects

Legal Director

Community Outreach &


Eversheds Sutherland

Communications Manager American Community School of Abu Dhabi


Farhad R. Alavi

Mubarak Albreiki

Beauty Therapist

Managing Partner

Director of Advancement and

Elyzee Day Surgery Medical Center

Akrivis Law Group, PLLC

Philanthropy New York University Abu Dhabi

Dr. Hoda Alkhzaimi

Nadeen Allouzi

Antonello Barbaro

Research Assistant Professor, Director of

Sales & Events Manager

Executive Director of Advancement &

Center for Cyber Security

Roberto’s Restaurant & Club Ltd.


New York University Abu Dhabi

New York University Abu Dhabi

Divya Arora Dhillon

Francesca Gori

Linda Ann Griffin

Vice President, Regional Account

Managing Director

General Manager, Jumeirah at Saadiyat

Management Unit Head

Accenture Middle East and North Africa


Citibank N.A.

Jumeirah at Etihad Towers

John Hammond

Scott Hutton

Myrna Jervoso

Regional Sales Manager MENAI & APAC,


Senior Key Account Manager

National Governments Sector

Squire Patton Boggs (MEA) LLP

Gemaco Interiors

Natasha Kavanagh

Mohamed Kudsi

Francoise Lamotte

Senior Associate

Senior Vice President

Head of Direct and Digital, EMEA

Norton Rose Fulbright (Middle East) LLP

Mubadala Investment Company


Adriana Marinaro

Elizabeth Quitania

Michael Suldo

Global Operations Senior Controller -

Assistant to Regional Vice President

525 Oil and Gas Sales Representative


Rockwell Automation LLC

Bell Helicopter


General Electric


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Sebastian Thomas

Kayaan Unwalla

Demeiter Vaubell

Resident Manager

Senior Associate

Marketing Communications Manager

Beach Rotana Hotel Abu Dhabi

Reed Smith LLP

Jumeirah at Etihad Towers

Amanda Williams Regional HR Manager Rockwell Automation LLC




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Utilizing the latest advanced technology for the diagnosis and treatment of infertility in both females and males, our team at HealthPlus Fertility Center applies their expertise to helping couples hoping to conceive and achieve the very best outcome. Our results are testament to our efforts, with our pregnancy success rates consistently ranked amongst the highest in the region.

Our specialties include: + In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF) + Intra Uterine insemination (IUI) + Intra Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) + Surgical Sperm recovery + Reproductive surgery + Pre-Implantation Genetic Diagnosis/ Screening (PGD/PGS) + Egg Freezing + Sperm Freezing + Laparoscopic Ovum Pickup Technique + Andrology + Fertility Preservation + Testicular mapping & Biopsies Procedures + Micro-dissection Testicular Biopsies

Our IVF Laboratory is the first in the UAE to be internationally accredited by the College of American Pathologists (CAP), a testimony to our commitment to high quality services in compliance with international standards and procedures.

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Abu Dhabi & Dubai - UAE 27



EVENTS GALLERY: SELECTED AMCHAM ABU DHABI EVENTS *For major events see the Highlights section

Morning Briefing with the Regional Senior Commercial Officer for the Gulf and Commercial Counselor, U.S. Embassy, Abu Dhabi - September 17, 2017

Private One-on-One Consultation Sessions with Trade and Economic Officers in the Gulf and Levant - September 24, 2017

Joint Reception for Trade and Economic Officers in the Gulf and Levant co-hosted by AmCham Abu Dhabi and U.S. Embassy Commercial Affairs - September 24, 2017


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Morning Briefing with Platinum Member H.E. Rashed Abdul Kareem Al Blooshi, Chief Executive of Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) on Investment in ADX - September 26, 2017

Welcome Back Strictly Social - September 27, 2017

U.S.-U.A.E. Capitol Hill Reception in Washington D.C. - October 4, 2017

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Qualities of Effective Leadership for Female and Male Professionals - Leadership Skills Development, 2020 Readiness - October 29, 2017

Exclusive VIP Dinner with Apollo 15 Command Module Pilot and Former NASA Astronaut Col. Al Worden and the UAE Space Agency - November 8, 2017

Morning Briefing with the New Consul General and Non-Immigrant Visa Chief, US Embassy Abu Dhabi - November 20, 2017


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2017 Thanksgiving Initiative: Volunteer to Host U.S. Service Members - November 23, 2017

Joint Business Groups Festive Networker with BeneLux, CBC, FBG, PBPC, SBC and SBCA November 28, 2017

Exclusive Platinum Member Event - Etihad Airways Innovation Centre Tour - December 5, 2017

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Women Achieve Ambassadors Luncheon on Celebrity Cruise Liner - December 7, 2017

Cultural Inclusion and Diversity in the Workplace with 30% Club GCC - December 11, 2017

Tawazun Defense Industry Seminar with Boeing on Robotics in Manufacturing Defense Systems supported by AmCham Abu Dhabi - December 13, 2017


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New Years Strictly Social at Toro Toro - January 16, 2018

Supported Events:

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UPCOMING EVENTS 2018 February 19

U.S. Expat Tax Seminar for Americans Living Abroad presented by PricewaterhouseCoopers

February 21

Women in Business Committee Event with Citibank on Innovation and Digital Disruption

February 22

Joint Event with H.E. Lana Nusseibeh, UAE Ambassador to the UN: The UAE’s Strategic Global Priorities at the United Nations

February 28

Morning Briefing with MIRAL: Abu Dhabi’s Creator of Destinations

March 4

The Past, Present, and Future of Recruiting in the Middle East with Rabea Ataya, Founder and CEO of

March 14

Strictly Social at Catch Abu Dhabi

March 15

Women in Business Committee Event: 5th Anniversary Celebration of WOMEN ACHIEVE

May 23

Meet the Candidates Strictly Social

June 6

Annual General Meeting

July 6

AmCham Abu Dhabi 4th of July American Independence Day Celebration



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30 YEARS. AN ENDURING PARTNERSHIP. Raytheon has been a committed partner of the UAE for 30 years. We are dedicated to enabling a brighter future, working together to help the UAE achieve its visionary goals for a better tomorrow. @Raytheon Raytheon @raytheoncompany Raytheon

© 2017 Raytheon Company. All rights reserved.

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VISION To be an innovative organization creating trusted commercial partnerships that broaden U.S. - U.A.E. relationships.

MISSION To promote commerce, investment and goodwill between the United States of America, the membership, the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and the United Arab Emirates.


AmCham Abu Dhabi P.O. Box 43710, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates Tel: +971 2 631 3604, Fax: +971 2 633 0489 Email: Website:


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Tawasol Vol 1 2018  

American Chamber of Commerce Abu Dhabi Tawasol Newsletter Vol 1 2018

Tawasol Vol 1 2018  

American Chamber of Commerce Abu Dhabi Tawasol Newsletter Vol 1 2018