US commerce secretary signs MoU with Bahrain for setting up US Trade Zone
21 January 2021
The US Department of Commerce and the ministry of industry, commerce and tourism of the Kingdom of Bahrain on Wednesday signed of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to enhance bilateral trade through the establishment of a US Trade Zone (USTZ) in the Gulf nation.
The MoU, signed by US secretary of commerce Wilbur Ross and the Bahrain’s minister of industry, commerce, and tourism Zayed R. Alzayani, focuses on export and investment promotion.
“The Kingdom of Bahrain has been, and continues to be, an important strategic and trade partner of the United States, maintaining stability and ensuring the free flow of commerce in the Gulf. The Department of Commerce remains committed to our deep partnership with the Kingdom,” said commerce secretary Wilbur Ross. “This MoU is but one such example of our mutual commitment and close relationship, and the International Trade Administration is committed to working with the Kingdom of Bahrain toward the realisation of this unique free trade zone.”
The commerce secretary said the establishment of a USTZ in Bahrain will foster enhanced economic connectivity, trade, and industrial cooperation and will help boost bilateral trade between the two countries. The United States and the Kingdom of Bahrain will promote the USTZ as a regional trade, manufacturing, logistics, and distribution hub for US companies in Bahrain, markets in the Gulf Cooperation Council, and beyond.
The USTZ will allow US businesses multimodal access to an area ideal for crossdocking activities, end-to-end specialised customs solutions, and fast-track operation for the purpose of exporting via Khalifa bin Salman Port, Bahrain International Airport, King Fahad Causeway or any future customs posts created by the Kingdom of Bahrain.
The commerce department says the United States and the Kingdom of Bahrain are longstanding partners with a strong record of economic and security cooperation. The US established diplomatic relations with Bahrain in 1971 and designated Bahrain a major non-NATO ally in 2002. The US-Bahrain Free Trade Agreement (FTA) entered into force in 2006, generating additional commercial opportunities for both countries. In 2019, bilateral merchandise trade reached $2.45 billion, with an additional $1.5 billion of trade in services (as per 2019 figures)