The American Chamber of Commerce in Bahrain (AmCham) and the Bahrain Indian Society (BIS) announced their tremendous success organizing the high-level hybrid Forum, with the presence of Shaikh Hamad bin Salman Al Khalifa Assistant Undersecretary for domestic and foreign trade, Maggie Nardi Charge’d’Affaires Embassy of US in Bahrain, Abdulrahman Mohammed Juma Bahrain Indian Society Chairman.
The forum attracted more than 200 virtual and physical participant, representing Bahraini, American and Indian companies in Bahrain, along with executives, businessmen and entrepreneurs regionally and globally, shedding light on the opportunities the Bahrain-US Free Trade Agreement (FTA) can offer Indian companies seeking access to the US markets by leveraging investment, operations and partnerships in the Kingdom of Bahrain.
“I’m happy for this opportunity to champion the embassy’s focus on promoting Bahrain’s export and long-term investment opportunities for U.S. companies, as well as to highlight the contributions of U.S. companies to the growth and development of Bahrain’s economy. Bahrain is a very attractive and competitive launching point to access the United States—which is a vast, open market with a skilled workforce, a growing economy, and unlimited investment potential,” Maggie Nardi Charge’d’Affaires Embassy of US in Bahrain stated.
“Thanks to the now 15-year-old U.S-Bahrain Free Trade Agreement, two-way trade in merchandise and services has tripled from $782 million dollars in 2005 to nearly $3 billion dollars in 2018. Our Embassy remains fully engaged with AmCham-Bahrain and the Economic Development Board to ensure our commercial partners leverage the U.S.-Bahrain Free Trade Agreement to access markets both here in Bahrain and throughout the United States. Building stronger commercial relations with Bahrain is a U.S. government priority, and we are here to support businesses that are interested in doing that.” Maggie Nardi added.
“The forum successfully explored a very important aspect of Bahrain’s growth and how the Kingdom is positioned to facilitate economic partnership between two giants – USA and India.
Indian Prime Minister has set an ambitious target of transforming India into a One Trillion Dollar economy within the decade and one of the channels of support could will be Bahrain where we already have two of the most important components to be a partner – a robust US-Bahrain FTA that confers preferential status to Bahraini exports into USA and a business scene powered by major Indian players and entrepreneurs. Our Forum highlighted new opportunities for third party countries and investors, such as Indian companies, using Bahrain and its many business-friendly policies and platforms, like the FTA, as a gateway.” Mr.Abdulrahman Mohammed Juma Bahrain Indian Society Chairman said.
The event, which was held with the strategic partnership of the Bahrain Economic Development Board and the communications partner FinMark Communications, highlighted the benefits provided by the FTA since its signing 15 years ago. The forum looked at how Bahraini and US firms have benefited, including a tripling of two-way merchandise trade, and the significantly expanded bilateral trade which has resulted, supporting economic diversification, job creation and investment in both countries.
Similarly, the Forum also highlighted similar and new opportunities that can be garnered by third party countries and investors, such as Indian companies, using Bahrain and its many business-friendly policies and platforms, like the FTA, as a gateway. Discussions focused on tactics for helping Indian manufactures and business leaders establish a presence and partnerships in the Kingdom through which they can benefit from duty free access to the US market for FTA eligible goods.
Addressing the Forum, there was a top line up of public and private sector leaders and trade and investment experts on the panel, including:
Moderator — Hesham AlAbbar, CEO Mueller Middle East & AmCham Board Member
Bahrain EDB — Dalal Buhejji, Executive Director – Investment Origination
JBF Bahrain, SPC — Kunjan Choksi, Vice President
Micro Tech Global Foundation — Dr. P. Sekhar, Chairman
Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) — Pranav Kumar, Principal- International Trade Policy
Together, speakers and panelists shared experience of the FTA and examples that show its strong and active use by businesses across most industries in Bahrain as well as hearing from a leading Indian company, JBF Bahrain SPC, on its successful leveraging of the FTA to expand into the US market.
The event is part of AmCham’s and BIS’s ongoing efforts to support business growth and development in the Kingdom and promote the use of the Bahrain-US FTA as part of a broader set of initiatives aimed at achieving improved trade, investment and other economic activities between the two countries