June 9, 2010
CITY OF ATLANTA
MAYOR'S OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS
55 Trinity Avenue, Suite 2500
ATLANTA, GEORGIA 30303
Reese McCranie, Deputy Director
404 886 2334, mobile
Sonya Moste, Atlanta Development Authority
Jessica Hoy, BGR Group
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
June 9, 2010
City of Atlanta, Bahrain Sign Agreement to Boost Bilateral Ties
Mayor Kasim Reed signs MoU with Kingdom’s Economic Development Board
(Atlanta) June 9, 2010 – Mayor of Atlanta Kasim Reed today signed an agreement with the Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB) that will facilitate strong commercial and economic ties between the City and the Kingdom of Bahrain.
A delegation from the Kingdom – increasingly recognized as a gateway to the trillion dollar Gulf market – arrived from New York last night to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The deal aims to maximize the opportunities presented by the Bahrain-US Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and will see cooperation in key sectors of common interest. These include: healthcare, education, energy, life sciences, and research and development. Other areas of business interest include stimulation via innovation, technology and industry cooperation, financial services, industrial and commercial services, telecoms, media and entertainment. To promote bilateral trade and business development, both parties will also participate in joint initiatives such as: conferences, symposiums, roadshows, workshops, discussion courses, forums, exhibitions and business delegations.
"The City of Atlanta welcomes the Bahrain delegation and is poised to offer a wide range of opportunities for economic development and information exchange in the areas of technology, biosciences, health, financial services and others that would be of mutual benefit to our governments," says Mayor Kasim Reed. "I am honored and delighted with this opportunity and look forward to the many productive developments that will emerge from the signing of this Memorandum of Understanding."
Speaking at the signing of the MoU, Shaikh Mohammed bin Essa Al Khalifa, Chief Executive of the EDB, said: “We in Bahrain are very pleased to have entered into this strategic agreement with Mayor Kasim Reed and the City of Atlanta. This MoU represents an opportunity to build on our longstanding and close diplomatic relationship with the US and our strong economic and trade connections – including the success of our Free Trade Agreement. We look forward to developing closer working relations with the Atlanta business community to jointly promote our respective economic interests.”
The Bahrain-US FTA – the first between the US and any Gulf nation – has greatly enhanced opportunities for US businesses in a region anticipating enviable levels of economic growth. Signed in 2004 and coming into force in 2006, it has been the cornerstone of growing bilateral trade which in 2008 exceeded US$1.8 billion, an increase of 25 percent in just three years. Leading US companies such as Kraft, Ernst & Young and Microsoft are already in Bahrain, which Forbes ranked the best country for business in the Gulf and 33rd of 127 economies worldwide in its Best Centers for Business 2009 report. The World Bank’s “Doing Business 2010” Report rates the country 20th best in the world for the ease of doing business.
Shaikh Mohammed and the Bahrain delegation – which includes senior dignitaries – are in Atlanta for several days visiting the local business community, from small businesses to business leaders. They will also be visiting Oklahoma City and Houston during their visit to the US, where they will also meet business leaders to discuss opportunities for partnerships and bilateral investment.
The EDB has the overall responsibility for creating the right climate to attract foreign investment to Bahrain. The body is currently leading the process of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 under the guidance of His Royal Highness Prince Salman Bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince of Bahrain and Chairman of the EDB. The plans are designed to drive the private sector as an engine for growth and support further diversification of the economy – already recognized as the most diversified in the region.
About The Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB)
The Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB) is a dynamic public agency with an overall responsibility for formulating and overseeing the economic development strategy of Bahrain, and for creating the right climate to attract direct investment into the Kingdom.
The role of the Bahrain EDB is to provide leadership by uniting all of the Kingdom's shareholders through a unified vision, and to develop key strategies for growth. The Bahrain EDB also acts as a facilitator, helping all of Bahrain's stakeholders to understand and adopt the changes necessary for progress. In addition, the Bahrain EDB provides sound project management to ensure that all agreed reform initiatives are implemented in an effective and timely manner.
The Bahrain EDB is also responsible for attracting inward investment into Bahrain, and is focusing on six target economic sectors in which the Kingdom offers significant strengths. These are financial services, downstream industries, tourism, business services, logistics, and education and training.
For more information on the Bahrain EDB visit www.bahrainedb.com; for information about Bahrain visit www.bahrain.com
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