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|DP World Invests in the US
The British firm P&O, which manages six U.S. ports among other world holdings, is being sold to Dubai Ports World (DP World) of the United Arab Emirates. The UAE company would control management of ports in New York and New Jersey, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New Orleans and Miami. The sale of the UK company to DP World should be confirmed by a UK court on March 2, 2006. The sale received approval from the U.S. Committee on Foreign Investments but has run into a hail of fire from neoconservatives.
Among Neoconservatives, the debate is no longer whether to scuttle the sale, it's whether disinformation or bigotry will do the best job. Oddly enough, DP World's record of investing in underdeveloped ports from Yemen to Romania has played a vital role in kick-starting moribund economies with desperately needed foreign direct investment. Neocons should hail DP World's role as an example of how to fight terrorism, conflict and desperation through economic development. Instead, pundits from Michael Ledeen to Alex Alexiev have reached into the mud and begun flinging with both hands. But what do experts say about DP World?
What do the Experts Say?
In 2005 DP World made a major commitment to a country that receives relatively little foreign direct investment: Yemen. DP World guaranteed investments of $370 million for capacity expansion toward increasing the volume of containers to 1.5 million in 2007. The US Ambassador, along with other US representatives in the region, hailed the investment DP World.
DP World sees working with the US to
increase port security as a major component of its investment. The US has taken
steps to ensure that the Port of Aden, site of the terrorist attack on the USS Cole,
becomes the most secure port in the region in partnership with DP World.
DP World will no doubt take the same committed approach to security in US ports, working closely with the Coast Guard, Port Authorities and law enforcement to ensure port security. Contrary to the hype, fear and derision leveled by neocons with little experience in the private sector, simple corporate profits provide the motivation for world class security. When ports are attacked, everyone loses, including shareholders. DP World has not shown itself to be interested in any security lapse that leads to losses. DP World is a US partner in port security.
What are Neocons After?
Neoconservatives are incensed at DP World's move into the US market. Increasing US-Arab trade, slated to grow 27% this year, runs against the vision of turning the region into a "seething cauldron" in the name of a "war on terror".
Unfortunately for Ledeen the other singers in the Neocon chorus, DP World offers the region, and the US, an engine of economic and trade growth that simply must be harnessed. No amount of bigotry and fear should be allowed to overturn the U.S. Committee on Foreign Investments well-considered acceptance of DP World.
Institute for Research Middle Eastern Policy, Inc. (IRmep)
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