Thursday, March 09, 2006

Bye Bye Dubai

DP World, the UAE company which would have taken over management of key U.S. ports in a buyout of P&O, a British company, announced today it would accomodate U.S. objections and sell off the American component of the purchase. The Washington Post reports that the announcement came just hours after GOP congressional leaders notified President Bush that Congress would pass legislation to block the deal.

This comes just a day after the Dubai emirate theatened to retaliate against U.S. interests economically if the deal was not approved. Today, Dubai was singing a different tune. "Because of the strong relationship between the United Arab Emirates and the United States and to preserve this relationship, DP World has decided to transfer fully the U.S. operations of P&O Ports North America, Inc. to a United States entity," Edward H. Bilkey, chief operating officer for Dubai Ports World, said in a statement released this afternoon. "This decision is based on an understanding that DP World will have time to effect the transfer in an orderly fashion and that DP World will not suffer economic loss."

The devil will be in the details though. Will the American company just be a front company for DP? The announcement did not indicate how the divestiture would be accomplished or what American company would acquire the interest. The Post indicated that remains a concern of congressional opposition to the original deal. "Rep. Peter King (R-NY) . . . said he wants to see the sale unfold. 'It would have to be an American company with no links to DP World,' he said."

The blogosphere should be credited with its role in stopping this deal. Little attention to the deal had been given in the mainstream media until blogers from across the entire political spectrum began questioning whether the deal was in America's best interests. The MSM quickly followed suit as opposition from all corners mounted.

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