Celebrate and Discover America in Bahrain!
By Justin Siberell, U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Bahrain
The United States enjoys an extremely robust relationship with the government and people of Bahrain. Ours is a long-standing, mutually-beneficial partnership that allows each country to enhance the other’s strengths and capabilities. Our partnership is built upon an enduring friendship that binds our two people and enriches both societies. America is truly grateful for the strong bond we share with Bahrain. This week, as we celebrate “Discover America Week, 2018” we shine the spotlight on one of the strongest pillars of our relationship: our deep commercial ties.
Trade between our two countries is booming. The Bahrain – U.S. Free Trade Agreement – one of only two such agreements the United States has with GCC nations – is the most significant symbol of our economic bond. Since the Free Trade Agreement came into force in 2006, two-way merchandise trade has more than doubled to $1.9 billion in 2017, benefitting Bahraini and U.S. exporters, and our economies – and it is only getting stronger. In the first seven months of 2018, two-way trade increased by 54 percent over the same period last year. Including services, trade totals over $3 billion annually. Bahrain exports a wide range of products to the United States under the agreement, including aluminum, textiles, plastics, fertilizers, chemicals, glass, and high performance motor sports helmets, to name just a few. The Free Trade Agreement has also brought investment and iconic American companies to Bahrain – companies that deliver good jobs for Bahraini citizens and provide unbeatable products and services for Bahraini consumers.
Discover America Week, which runs from October 14-24, is a celebration of American commerce and innovation, including food, retail outlets, tourism, medical innovation, entrepreneurship, technology, services, and more. It is a great opportunity for Bahrainis to explore some of these world-class American products and services. This year’s programming underscores the enduring presence of a number of U.S. companies and brands in Bahrain. I would like to highlight just a few of the activities that will take place during the week.
We will be celebrating Free Trade Agreement success stories, like world-leading U.S. medical technologies at work at the American Mission Hospital and excellence in U.S. engineering at Alba. In partnership with the American Chamber of Commerce in Bahrain (AmCham), the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the United Nations Development Program, we will host a seminar on promoting trade with the United States. We will also bring a world-renowned entrepreneur from the United States to discuss the importance of women’s advancement in business, in an event co-sponsored with AmCham, C5, and the Capital Governorate. Other events include placing a spotlight on U.S. retailers and famous brand franchises and a visit to U.S. companies thriving at the Bahrain International Investment Park.
While there is much of America to discover here in Bahrain, we hope you will visit the United States to experience even more. Each year, over 5,000 Bahraini citizens visit the Embassy’s Consular section in preparation to tour, study, or conduct business in the United States. We now feature an interview waiver program that allows some Bahraini visa applicants to renew their visas without even setting foot in our Embassy. We are introducing innovations to make it easier and more convenient for you to visit and enjoy all that America has to offer.
Please take a moment to find out what we are doing on the U.S. Embassy website at https://bh.usembassy.gov and follow our Discover America activities on Twitter (@USEmbassyManama), Instagram (@usembassybahrain), and Facebook (U.S. Embassy Manama). I hope you will join me in celebrating Discover America Week!
Read the op-ed in Arabic.