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U.S. Firms Eyeing Middle East Boom

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

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Aiming to tap a trillion-dollar pipeline of megaprojects, the American Institute of Architects is developing its first trade mission to the Middle East.

AIA's Architectural Services Trade Mission, set for Nov. 17 to 19, is part of a nationwide effort to double United States’ exports by the end of 2014. The mission to Doha, Qatar, may begin with a stop in Saudi Arabia.

AIA is recruiting U.S. architectural , design services and project management firms as well as architecture/construction/engineering (ACE) trade associations or organizations to join the mission, which will shop U.S. talent, services and vendors to one of the world's wealthiest and fastest-growing regions.

The deadline for joining the mission is Sept. 15.

Doha Qatar at night

Doha, Qatar, is the main destination for the trade mission. AIA is recruiting architectural, design and project management firms to participate.

Participants need not be members of AIA to attend.

AIA sees "high potential" in the Middle East for U.S. services that support master planning for cities and ports, hospitals and health-care architecture, hospitality, airports/transportation infrastructure facility architecture, mixed-use projects, sports and entertainment, and educational facilities.

The mission will include market briefings, one-on-one business appointments with pre-screened potential buyers, agents, distributors, industry leaders, and joint venture partners; meetings with state and local government officials (in Qatar only); and networking events.

What's at Stake

"The U.S.-Qatar trade relationship is going through a massive transformation," AIA reports. The U.S. posted a trade surplus of nearly $3.7 billion in 2013, with record U.S. exports to Qatar of $5 billion.

Construction Doha Qatar

Participants in the AIA trade mission will network with local businesses and government officials to learn about Doha's expanding infrastructure.

Despite Qatar’s small population (two million people with only 250,000 Qataris), it ranks as the fifth-largest market in the Middle East and North Africa region, behind the much larger markets of the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Israel and Egypt.

With Qatar’s 2030 Vision and its role as host of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, the country plans to spend $250 billion on physical infrastructure and other developments over the next five years.

Projects include the new Hamad International Airport, the New Doha Port Project, road conversion (from UK-style roundabouts to U.S. road layouts), new rail lines, nine to 12 new stadiums, hospitals, schools, commercial and hospitality venues.

Saudi Arabia is the 10th-largest trading partner of the United States, with bilateral trade of $71 billion in 2013.

Hamad International Airport

Contsruction at Doha's new Hamad International Airport is part of Qatar's $250 billion infrastructure investment plan in the next five years.

The Saudi economy—the largest in the Middle East and North Africa region—has been growing at a robust pace, with about $960 billion worth of projects planned or under way, including more than $700 billion in megaprojects.

Increasing U.S. Exports

The mission, a joint venture with the International Trade Administration, supports President Obama’s goal of doubling U.S. exports by the end of 2014 through the National Export Initiative.

The AIA and U.S. Department of Commerce also sponsored successful trade missions to India in 2012 and to Brazil in 2013.

“This trade mission represents another exceptional opportunity to expand the reach of architectural talent around the globe,” said 2015 AIA President Elizabeth Chu Richter, FAIA, who will represent the organization on the trade mission.

Abraj Al-Bait Towers
Creative Commons / King of Hearts

Saudi Arabia's Abraj Al-Bait Towers, which opened in 2012, is now the world's third-tallest building. The kingdom has $960 billion in projects planned or under way.

“Our profession represents a major economic tool for boosting U.S. exports and creating jobs here in the United States.”

The Purpose

The Qatari market is expanding, so the trade mission is an attempt to introduce U.S. firms to that market as Qatar continues to develop new infrastructure projects.

More information is available here.



Tagged categories: American Institute of Architects (AIA); Architecture; Construction; Design; Engineers; Infrastructure; Market; President Obama; Project Management

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