January 2020 Newsletter

President’s Message: Register now for the Governor-led Trade Mission to Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E.

We are pleased to announce that Gov. Gary R. Herbert is leading a trade mission to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) this coming April 14-24. Registration for the trade mission is open until Jan. 17, 2020.

World Trade Center Utah (WTC Utah), in partnership with the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED), is coordinating the official state trade mission, which will visit the cities of Riyadh, Abu Dhabi and Dubai. The trip offers tremendous opportunities for Utah companies interested in increasing their footprint in the Middle East.

Exploring business ventures in Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E. makes sense for many reasons. I have long held that Utah businesses have immense opportunities to develop strong commercial, educational and cultural ties with Gulf countries, which are working to diversify their economies and to expand strategic partnerships with the United States, often by increasing their investment and ties outside of Washington and the coasts. This trade mission will be a significant opportunity for Utah businesses to grow their international sales and connect with potential partners and investors in two highly dynamic countries that are eager to expand their trade and investment relationships.

 We are in the early stages of building out the trade mission itinerary. Here’s a brief economic overview of both countries as well as the potential meetings we are scheduling.

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is the largest economy in the Arab World with a GDP of $684 billion, and is the second-largest U.S. export market in the Gulf region, behind the U.A.E., receiving nearly $24 billion in U.S. exports of goods and services. Major U.S. export products include transportation equipment, life science products and services (healthcare, medical devices, and biotechnologies), chemicals and pharmaceutical products. Saudi Arabia is also a major importer of U.S. services. Additionally, Saudi Arabia is the largest importer of food and agricultural products in the Gulf Cooperation Council and demand for U.S. food products has increased in recent years.

Meetings: Many potential meetings in Saudi Arabia are focused on organizations working directly with interested international business leaders and entrepreneurs, including the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman’s own non-profit MiSK Foundation, the Saudi Chambers of Commerce and Giga Projects. We also are looking to visit Saudi Aramco, the highest valued and most profitable corporation in the world and its largest energy producer, recently making headlines by going public on the Saudi stock exchange. Delegates can also connect with two companies involved with business and agricultural development, the Saudi Public Investment Fund and the Saudi Agriculture and Livestock Investment Company (SALIC). Finally, there’s the Muslim World League, one of the largest Islamic organizations in the world. Muslim World League Secretary General Mohammed bin Abdul-Karim Al-Issa made a high-profile visit to Utah in November (click here and here to read more) and several Utah organizations are now exploring areas of partnership with the organization.  

For a full list of potential meetings in Saudi Arabia, click here.

United Arab Emirates

The U.A.E. has been the top U.S. export market in the Middle East/North Africa region for the last 10 years and is a critical regional hub for 1,500 American companies doing business throughout the Middle East, South Asia and Africa. In 2018, the United States exported $19.5 billion of goods and many billions in services to the U.A.E. A major investor in the United States, the U.A.E. supports a range of emerging technologies, infrastructure and real estate. The best prospects for U.S. exports and foreign investment include aerospace and defense, education and education technology, life sciences (healthcare, biotech and medical devices), renewables and hydrocarbon energy, smart city technologies and security. As the leading commercial hub serving the Middle East, Africa and Southern Asia, the U.A.E. plays a central role as a regional trade, logistics and tourism center.

Meetings: Delegates interested in identifying business development, innovation and investment partners will benefit from our meetings with Mubadala Ventures, Dubai Science Park (DSP), Dubai Future Accelerators and Ghadan 21. During the visit with Mubadala Ventures, Utah technology companies and investors will present Silicon Slopes as a world leader in technology innovation and learn Mubadala practices for future partnerships. Additionally, we are working to incorporate visits to the Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA) and Gulftainer, two global port management and operation companies. Utah participants will gain valuable insights into port logistics and operations as well as new technologies in port management which can be applied to Utah’s future inland port. Meetings with top organizations and companies in the energy and aerospace industry are also on the docket.  

For a full list of potential meetings in the U.A.E., click here.

In addition to these meetings, optional Gold Key services can provide B2B matchmaking opportunities. We will send out updates as we confirm meetings and other elements of the schedule.

Small and medium-sized companies may be eligible for grants administered by WTC Utah to off-set some trip costs and to receive customized trade services at no cost. Please reach out to our team to learn how you can apply.

 The participation fee is $1,600 and includes: 

  • All official trade mission events and materials, including meetings, embassy receptions and country market briefings
  • Airport pick-up and drop-offs and in-country ground transportation for trade mission meetings and events
  • Most meals

 Payment details will be sent upon completion of registration. Spouses are welcome to participate in the trade mission at a discounted rate and cultural excursions are available at additional costs. We hope you will join us!


Company Spotlight: OOCL

In 2013, the global shipping and logistics giant Orient Overseas Container Line (OOCL), of Hong Kong, announced plans to relocate its North American Integrated Management and Services Center to South Jordan, Utah, generating approximately 200 new jobs in the Beehive State. 

Landlocked Utah might seem like a strange location for a global shipping company that manages shipments through Pacific and Atlantic ports, but OOCL USA President Paul Devine said his company looked deeply into Utah’s infrastructure and business community and saw opportunities to grow and strengthen OOCL’s services from Utah, especially since OOCL USA specializes in arranging intermodal freight transportation, which involves moving customer containers by multiple methods, including ships, trains and trucks, to their ultimate destinations. OOCL also provides terminal warehousing and distribution services.

A subsidiary of Hong Kong-based Orient Overseas International Ltd., OOCL opened its Integrated Management and Service Center for North America in Utah in July 2014, basing its business upon the following core values:

  1. People, People, People
  2. Community Responsibility
  3. Excellence Through Quality
  4. Customer Focus

For OOCL, community responsibility includes sustainability and environmental issues, along with serving in the local communities. As a global company, OOCL wants to be involved in the local communities where it operates and reach out to all stakeholders. The company also takes pride in its corporate focus on sustainability. For example, the OOCL team in Utah has embraced this value and enjoys participating in many events and charitable activities within local communities. The corporate goodwill of OOCL’s leadership has helped the company develop a strong partnership with Utah’s private and public sectors by growing together.

In 2015, Utah officials joined OOCL executives for the naming ceremony of the new 8,888 TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit) container ship “OOCL Utah,” which OOCL was putting into service. Last September, while on a trade mission to Hong Kong and Japan, a Utah delegation of government and business leaders met with executives from OOCL at the company’s Hong Kong headquarters to discuss ways Utah could increase its participation in Trans-Pacific Trade via the Utah Inland Port.  

After that visit, Andy Tung, former co-chief executive officer of OOCL, said the Utah business community has been supportive of OOCL, “from day one when we decided to open our strategic office in Salt Lake City.” Regarding the trade mission visit, he said, “We had many productive and helpful discussions on wide-ranging topics from transportation infrastructure, new partnership opportunities, to challenges we face in the digitization of the industry. The level of cooperation among Utah’s public and private sectors is simply outstanding, and we certainly look forward to continuing our dialogues to facilitate trade and grow our businesses together.”

OOCL USA, under Devine’s leadership, has been a strong supporter of Utah’s initiative to establish an inland port and a major shipping gateway in Utah that could make it easier to export goods and materials abroad and attract manufacturers to the state. An inland port could even facilitate the location of an auto manufacturing plant in Utah or an Amazon.com fulfillment center, he said. 

By establishing its Integrated Management and Service Center for North America in Utah, OOCL houses many key departments including customer service, operations, human resources, finance, trade and executive functions there while also maintaining effective regional offices in Long Beach, Houston, New York, Charleston, Chicago, Toronto, Vancouver and Mexico City.

Having OOCL in Utah is one example of the many strong links Utah enjoys with the Chinese business community. China is one of Utah’s top import sources and export destinations and could play a key role in the establishment of a global trade hub in Utah.

In a recent OOCL milestone, the company celebrated the arrival of its container ship “OOCL Berlin,” which set a record as the largest container ship to sail into the Port of New York and New Jersey in July 2017. Measuring longer than 1,200 feet, the container ship surpasses four football fields and was the first vessel over 13,000 TEU to enter the Port Newark-Elizabeth Marine Terminal. OOCL reached another milestone in 2017 after receiving its first G class vessel “OOCL Hong Kong”. The “OOCL Hong Kong” was officially recorded as the world’s biggest container ship at 21,413 TEU by Guinness World Records.


News Headlines

Economic excellence, air quality and other lessons from 2019

Miles Hansen: Lee’s immigration bill will give Silicon Slopes the high-tech workers it needs

Top 5 business stories of 2019 in Utah County:

How Trump’s Trade Agenda Played Out In 2019

Vivakor Asked to Participate on Middle East Trade Mission

McAdams votes for trade agreement to strengthen Utah economy; support Utah jobs