Zee Media Bureau
Dubai: Even as the race for the US presidential elections 2016 is hitting up, the United Arab Emirates has sound a warning that should Donald Trump win, the flow of Gulf money to the country would stop.
Speaking to Reuters, billionaire and UAE businessman Khalaf Al Habtoor said Gulf Arabs could pull billions in investment money from the United States if the Republican candidate wins the presidency later this year.
The United States Presidential election 2016 are scheduled for November this year with billionaire and business tycoon Donald Trump as one of the front-runner as a Republican candidate.
However, in the recent past Trump has triggered outrage around the world when he advocated a temporary ban on Muslims entering the United States.
In one of his campaign speeches, he had also said he saw Muslims around the world celebrating the September 11 incident of 2001.
The United States "will lose their businesses, people will cancel any plans of investment there, I am sure of that," said Habtoor, who is the head of United Arab Emirates-based conglomerate Al Habtoor Group (AHG).
Interestingly, Habtoor was once a support of Trump.
"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."
Habtoor is Chairman of AHG, one of the biggest family businesses in the UAE, with a range of interests including automotives, hospitality and construction. It plans 2 billion dirhams ($544.6 million) of acquisitions in the hospitality sector in the United States and Europe this year.
If other Gulf investors take a similar view, billions of dollars of Gulf Arab money slated for investment in the United States could be at risk.
The UAE was the United States` largest trading partner in the Middle East in 2014, with $25 billion in bilateral trade, according to data from the U.S.-UAE Business Council`s website.
That includes multi-billion-dollar aircraft orders for Boeing from Emirates and Etihad Airways as well as defence contracts.
Qatar`s sovereign wealth fund set up an office in New York in April last year and plans to invest $35 billion in the country over the next five years.
Habtoor is not the first Gulf businessman to express anger at statements by Trump, who has also suggested refugees fleeing violence in Syria are affiliated with Islamic State militants.
Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal called Trump a disgrace in a Twitter spat on Dec. 12, although he not threaten to pull out his U.S. investments. His company Kingdom Holding has a substantial portfolio of U.S. holdings including Citigroup, Twitter, and Newscorp.
With Agency Inputs