This week, Deputy Assistant USTR for Small Business Christina Sevilla spoke at a workshop on the U.S.-Bahrain Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and small business. Workshop participants included Minister of Commerce and Industry H.E. Dr. Hassan Bin Abdulla Fakhro, U.S. Ambassador Thomas Krajeski and staff from U.S. Embassy Manama and representatives from the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Bahrain Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Society. The FTA, which took effect in August 2006, strengthens political and economic relations with a key partner in the Middle East, with nearly two billion in two-way trade supporting jobs and economic growth on both sides. U.S. exports to Bahrain in 2012 totaled $1.2 billion, and imports were $701 million.
Deputy Assistant USTR for Small Business Christina Sevilla (center) with (from l.to r.) Abdulrahim Fakhro from Bahrain Polytechnic, Dr. Lulwa Almutlaq, President of Golden Trust; Ambassador Dr. Dhafer Alumran from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Dr Abdulhasan Al-Dairi, Bahrain SME Society
Sevilla shared best practices on U.S. assistance to small and medium businesses and examples of smaller countries adapting the U.S. model of Small Business Development Centers to meet local needs. She highlighted niche opportunities for SMEs cooperation, including in areas, such as jewelry and leather goods. Sevilla also participated in a women's entrepreneurship mentoring event with local female businessowners and students at Bahrain Polytechnic University.
Helping more SMEs take advantage of the benefits of the FTA can support greater economic opportunity and inclusive growth in the region. To learn more about the U.S.-Bahrain Free Trade Agreement, please click here.