GULF BUSINESS – NOT SOLELY FIXED ON ASIA

GULF BUSINESS – NOT SOLELY FIXED ON ASIA

A recent Bloomberg report noted remarks by Mubadala Investment Company CEO, Khaldoon al-Mubarak during a virtual conference with counterparts in the US.  Describing the US as “an unbelievable market”, he emphasised the many opportunities in the US and EU which might attract Mubadala investment.

In particular, he focused on the potential attractions of investment in new infrastructure projects and an opportunity to take advantage of recently launched multi-billion US and European stimulus packages, describing the EU as a market with “tremendous requirements when it comes to infrastructure and upgrades.”

Some may be intrigued by the Mubadala CEO’s evident desire to emphasise opportunities that the UAE and wider Gulf sees in both the US and Europe. Mubadala has been active with significant investments in Asia, particularly in South Korea, Japan and China. This is part of longer-term trends of the Gulf States looking to Asia for investments and away from traditional markets in Europe and North America.

In making clear that Mubadala is strongly attracted to investment opportunities in the US and Europe, as well as in Asia, this seems to suggest that the UAE is adopting a broader international approach, that increased investment in Asia should not be seen in an overly transactional framework and that an increased focus on new markets should not be seen as an abandonment of the UAE’s more traditional spheres of investment interest.

The remarks can also be seen as a strong endorsement of the immense stimulus packages that both the EU and US have agreed in recent weeks and months to reboot and rebalance Western economies in the wake of the damage wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, the Gulf states may be using their investment vehicles to forge new transatlantic relations in the wake of the Trump administration.  It has become commonplace to argue that the arrival of President Biden in the White House will be a setback for the Gulf states.  Accordingly, the recently declared opportunities for the Gulf states to invest in both the US and European post-pandemic recoveries may prove to be important diplomatic bridges as well.  

nt diplomatic bridges as well.