US presidential election

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While U.S.  presidential  elections  are  incredibly  difficult  to  predict,  we  predicts  that  the  2016  U.S.  presidential   election  will  be  between  Hillary  Clinton  and  Donald  Trump,  with Hillary  Clinton  narrowly  winning  the  presidency.   A  Trump  presidency  would  worsen  trade  and  investment  relations  between  the  U.S.  and  Middle  East,  while  a   Clinton  presidency  would  result  in  increased  cooperation  and  trade  with  the  Gulf  states.

Current Relations

Under the Obama presidency, trade channels between the U.S.  and  Gulf  region  have  been  wide  open  due  to   many  visits  by  the  administration  and  Gulf  leaders. Trade in goods between US and Gulf countries hit their highest in 2015. However,  little  has  been  said  by  the  presidential  candidates  about  Middle  Eastern  trade;;  Terrorism and ISIL have   dominated televised debates.

Clinton Presidency

Out  of  all  presidential  candidates,  Clinton  would  be  most  favorable  for  Gulf  businesses. Clinton  is  viewed  as  a  natural  fit  by  most  Gulf  leaders  and  businesses,  continuing  the  policies  left  by  Obama   having  served  as  Secretary  of  State  between  2009  – 2013. Her  close  ties  to  Wall  Street  banks  and  commitment  to  capitalism  may  lead  to  increased  trade  opportunities. Support  for  the  Trans-­Pacific  Partnership  (trade  agreement  signed  by  12  countries  including  US,  Singapore,   Mexico,  and  Vietnam)  showcases  her  free  trade  stance. In a Clinton presidency, US would  continue  to  take  in  refugees  from  Syria  and  push  Arab  states  to  take   additional  refugees. She  supports  greater  cooperation  with  members  of  the  GCC  (Bahrain,  Kuwait,  Oman,  Qatar,  Saudi  Arabia,  UAE)   to  combat  ISIL  and  Iran  nuclear  ambitions.

Donald Trump Presidency

Despite  his  business  background,  a  Trump  presidency  would  result  in  worsened  trade  relations  between  Middle   Eastern  leaders  &  businesses  and  the  U.S. Trump  called  for  a  “total  and  complete  shutdown  of  Muslims  entering  the  U.S.”  and  said  he  “wasn’t  a  big  fan”  of   Saudi  Arabia. Saudi  Prince  Al  Waleed  Bin  Talal and  Khalaf Al  Habtoor warned  that  a  Trump  presidency  would  lead  to  GCC   withdrawing  their  investments  from  the  US  in response  to  his  comments  about  Muslim  refugees.

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