UAE expat views about Trump first 100 days

Published:  8 May at 6 PM
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Tagged: USA, Dubai, UAE
A recent debate held by US expats living and working in the UAE focused on differing interpretations of the Trump presidency’s first 100 days in office.

The debate, organised by the GCC Business Council, was held at Dubai’s International Financial Club and featured four speakers – two Republicans and two Democrats. Moderating the lively occasion was a journalist from the Khaleej Times. Media spokesperson for the UAE’s Abroad chapter Tony Graha, opened the proceedings by noting his concern about the damage an unfettered Trump was causing to the USA’s world reputation, saying the new president’s foreign policy utterings lacked credibility and consistency.

In reply, Dubai Director of Overseas Republicans UAE Joshua Atkinson spoke for the president, saying he’d attempted to keep his campaign promises including repealing and replacing Obamacare and focusing on trade deals. However, the main thrust of the debate was, unsurprisingly, the ongoing issue of ‘fake news’, with UAE Chair of Democrats Abroad Orlando Vidal stating TV programmes such as CNN had failed to shed any light on the problem as they’re more concerned about their ratings. The New York Times, he added, is another matter entirely, as its reputation and respectability has also been challenged by Trump in a way which sets the wrong tone for press freedom in the USA.

Meanwhile, the debate about expat remittance taxing in Kuwait continues unabated, with the emirate’s Central Bank Governor Mohammed al Hashel stating he opposed the measure as it would damage Kuwait’s financial reputation and economy. He told reporters from local newspaper Al Sayassah the negative effects of the measure would be far greater than the expected increase in tax revenues. Estimates of revenues, he said, are certain to be lower than forecast given the high cost of operation and administration of the scheme, also adding he expected expats to find ways around the paying.

In Bahrain, a new bill proposing the cutting of further subsidies for expats is due to come under consideration by parliament. Should it be voted into law, non-Bahraini customers will face a 10 per cent tax on water supply charges. Local parliamentarians are broadly in favour of the new law as it’s expected to ease the financial pressure on government expenses. The new law will include monthly sewerage charges, wastewater treatment, treated water usage and sanitary networks. Bahraini nationals will continue to have their water supplies free of any fees.
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