By Margaret Nardi, U.S. Embassy Chargé d’Affaires to the Kingdom of Bahrain
Each year, around this time, American embassies the world over celebrate Discover America Week to highlight the contributions of U.S. goods, services and products to our lives. This year’s Discover America Week kicks off in Bahrain on October 21. Every year Discover America Week provides an opportunity for the U.S. Embassy, American Chamber of Commerce and our Bahraini friends and partners to highlight American investment in Bahrain and to reinforce our strong and deepening U.S.-Bahrain partnership across all sectors.
Over 200 world-class, state of the art American firms have chosen to be based here in Bahrain, one of the most dynamic economies in the region, and a great place to do business. These firms have powered the leap in bilateral U.S.-Bahrain trade from $782 million in 2005 to $2.45 billion in 2019, including an increase in Bahrain’s exports to the United States, from $300 million prior to the U.S.-Bahrain Free Trade Agreement coming into effect in 2006 to over $1 billion today.
To be sure, COVID-19 is taking a toll on the global economy. During Discover America Week we will showcase some of the Bahraini and American companies helping us all to thrive during these challenging times. We will highlight the efforts of U.S. firms Hill, L3 and AECOM, whose engineering mastery will ensure an excellent travel experience at Bahrain International Airport’s new passenger terminal. The contributions of these U.S. firms will increase passenger capacity to 14 million travelers each year and, down the line, will enable nonstop flights between Bahrain and the United States. We will emphasize the contributions of major American technology companies, such as Cisco, Amazon and Microsoft, to build the information technology architecture necessary for schools and universities to share data securely and continue educating safely during the COVID-19 pandemic. We will honor companies like WestPoint Home, which re-tooled one of its production lines to produce life-saving face masks to protect us all, as well as the American Mission Hospital that is supporting the people and the Government of Bahrain to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
To inspire and introduce local entrepreneurs, who wish to connect to and partner with American entrepreneurs or enter the U.S. marketplace, we will hold a series of virtual workshops to explain our top tips on doing business in the United States, obtaining franchises to market American products and services locally and maximizing resources like the U.S. Export-Import (EXIM) Bank to import U.S.-manufactured goods and services. The virtual workshops will provide information on the U.S. Embassy’s commercial services and visa services for doing business in the United States, including the new 10-year tourist and business visa which will enable greater opportunities for people-to-people exchanges, trade, travel, and tourism, once visa issuance can be safely resumed in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
We look forward to you joining us during Discover America Week from October 21-27, 2020. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictions on congregational gatherings, our public programming will be entirely virtual, readily accessible via Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube on the following link: https://bh.usembassy.gov/our-relationship/welcome-discover-america-week/
Click here to read the op-ed in Arabic (PDF 220KB).