U.S. and Palestinians hold first Economic Dialogue since 2004

JERUSALEM /PNN/

U.S. and Palestinian officials held a U.S.-Palestinian Economic Dialogue in Ramallah on Sunday, May 22, 2016.

The purpose of the Economic Dialogue was to provide an ongoing mechanism for two sides to address economic challenges and identify opportunities to help advance our overarching objective of achieving a negotiated two-state solution, with a viable Palestinian state living side-by-side in peace with Israel.

A range of Washington-based economic policy offices and agencies traveled to the West Bank to coordinate with Palestinian officials on bilateral and regional economic issues. Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs Charles H. Rivkin and Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Ken Hyatt attended from Washington, DC to lead the U.S. delegation.

The Palestinian delegation was led by Minister of National Economy Abeer Odeh, Minister of Finance and Planning Shukri Bishara, and Minister of Telecommunications and Information Technology Allam Mousa.

This was the first U.S.-Palestinian Economic Dialogue since 2004. The United States is planning to host the next round of talks in Washington next year.

The United Sates seeks to work with the Palestinians to strengthen the Palestinian economy and enhance the overall investment climate so as to shift the Palestinian economy to a more sustainable, less donor-dependent growth model. In his remarks, Assistant Secretary Rivkin said, “We understand the close and productive economic engagement with the Palestinian people is key to our joint goals in the region.” He added, “This [dialogue] is not only about identifying ways the United States can support the Palestinian economy. We also want to strengthen the ties between our respective business communities.”

In his op-Ed published today in Al Quds, Consul General Donald Blome wrote, “Growing the Palestinian economy and providing more opportunities to young Palestinians is not a goal that we can put off to a later point in time. It is a necessity that we must address in lock-step with our overarching political goal: a negotiated two-state solution, with a viable Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with Israel.”