U.S. Commerce Secretary in Gulf Ahead of Obama Visit

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates -- The U.S. secretary of commerce has arrived in the Persian Gulf region, where she will tell officials from the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Qatar that closer economic cooperation with Washington is a bridge to building deeper security ties with the U.S.

Penny Pritzker told The Associated Press from the UAE capital of Abu Dhabi on Sunday that the U.S. is open to investments from its oil-rich Arab allies. U.S. exports to the three countries were some $50 billion last year.

Her visit precedes a planned trip this month by President Barack Obama to Saudi Arabia in an effort to patch over strained relations.

Pritzker is traveling with 21 American companies and is the first U.S. Commerce Secretary to visit the gulf region with a trade mission in 15 years.

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