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Will change in the US leadership impact businesses in the Middle East?

Will change in the US leadership impact businesses in the Middle East?

Some sectors may face a bigger impact than others, although it will not be significant, opines UAE-based entrepreneur Oweis Zahran

Democratic Presidential Nominee Joe Biden Holds Train Campaign Tour Of OH And PA

With Joe Biden now elected to become the 46th President of the United States following a tough battle with Donald Trump, the focus has now moved to what the new leadership will mean for international policies.

Biden has vowed to change many of his predecessor’s policies on issues ranging from climate change to immigration.

Looking specifically at his policies related to the Middle East, Biden has said that he will attempt to restore the nuclear deal with Iran – signed during the Obama era – which Trump pulled out of. He has also pledged to increase his support for the Palestinian cause.

“The only major difference in the Middle East between a Trump or Biden presidency would be in Iran relations, where Biden would try to return to the negotiated nuclear sanctions agreement from which Trump pulled the US out,” according to Rami Khouri, senior fellow, Middle East Initiative at Harvard Kennedy School.

Speaking to The Harvard Gazette , Khouri added that on Israel-Palestine, “there would be only minor differences, in tone rather than in substance, as both Biden and Trump essentially favour Israel”.

He stressed that the US’ foreign policy in the Middle East has changed very little between Republican- or Democratic-led governments.

From a business-perspective, some sectors – such as the oil industry – could see an impact due to Biden’s policies related to energy and climate change (his energy plan includes $2 trillion in clean energy initiatives). However, for other sectors, it will probably be business as usual, with slight adjustments, opines UAE-based Oweis Zahran, an American entrepreneur whose auto business operates both in the US and the Middle East.

“I think there will be a little bit of disruption as the regime changes. Obviously for us – as a US automotive business – we were probably better off under the previous administration; however we are also very optimistic on some of the promises that Biden has been making for supporting the auto industry directly,” he says.

As per his campaign agenda, Biden aims to add one million jobs in the US’ auto industry, support standardised regulations and invest in electric vehicles infrastructure.

“I think for us it’s going to be business as usual for the most part. We are in the business of automotive, transporting people and manufacturing of spare parts – these are all businesses that are going to assist people. And as long as there are no embargoes on either side, then we are happy to be able to continue doing what we are doing,” states Zahran.

“However, some sectors will be affected more than others. Some of the supplementary businesses to the automotive industry may struggle as focuses and priorities shift a bit.

“But I believe with every change there is room for opportunities and we are going to see, with the new changes, what are the opportunity windows that we could play our advantages to and do so as quickly as possible,” he adds.

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