DUBAI: As the race for the American presidential elections due in November 2016 is heating up, the UAE has voiced a forewarning that Donald Trump’s victory would result in cessation of movement of Gulf money to the US. Khalaf Al Habtoor, a billionaire UAE businessman told Reuters that Gulf Arabs could pull-out billions of investment money from America if the Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump wins the presidency later this year.
Donald Trump, odds-on favorite to be the Republican presidential aspirant, sparked outrage all over the world when he proposed a temporary ban on Muslims arriving the United States. Khalaf Al Habtoor the head of UAE based conglomerate Al Habtoor Group (AHG), who initially supported Trump’s candidacy said the US “will lose their businesses, people will cancel any plans of investment there, I am sure of that.” He further added “Because if you don’t want me in your country, how can I invest and put my money there. Therefore people will divest, and this will result in unemployment in the United States.”
Khalaf Al Habtoor is the Chairman of AHG, one of the biggest family-owned businesses in the United Arab Emirates, with a range of interests including hospitality, automotive, and construction is ideating 2 billion dirhams ($544.6 million) of acquisitions in the hospitality sector in the United States and Europe in 2016. If other Gulf investors toe the line, billions of dollars of Gulf Arab money put down for investment in the United States could be at risk.
According to the data from the US-UAE Business Council’s site, UAE was the USA’s largest business partner in the Middle East region in 2014, with $25 billion in mutual transactions. This encompasses multi-billion-dollar aircraft orders for Boeing from Etihad Airways and Emirates injunction with the defense contracts. Last year in April, Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund established an office in New York to invest $35 billion in the USA over the next five years. Khalaf Al Habtoor is not the first Gulf businessman to voice acrimony at statements made by Donald Trump, who has also propounded that refugees escaping bloodshed in Syria are connected with ISIS. Prince Alwaleed bin Talal another Saudi billionaire called Trump a disgrace in a Twitter squabble on December 12, however, he has not warned to withdraw his financial assets in the US. His company Kingdom Holding has a considerable portfolio of US holdings including Newscorp, Citigroup, and Twitter.
Habtoor suggested that Donald Trump shouldn’t have classified Muslims as terrorists in a clichéd manner. Habtoor said “ISIS are not Muslims, Al Qaeda are not Muslims, Hezbollah are not Muslims, they are criminals, they are terrorists,” he said to have written a letter to Donald Trump asking him to reassess his perspective and public statements. Khalaf Al Habtoor had initially endorsed Donald Trump for the presidency, writing an op-ed in the UAE daily newspaper The National on Aug. 9 in which Habtoor stated he was “convinced that he was the right man for the job”. “I was supporting Mr. Trump because he is a very successful businessman, he is very shrewd, and I thought the United States now needs a successful businessman rather than a politician,” Khalaf Habtoor told, further adding that he had been startled by Donald Trump’s comments.