Washington's trade relationship with the UAE is the third largest in the Middle East, after Israel and Saudi Arabia.
The Bush administration has also proposed a Middle East Free Trade Area (MEFTA), which would link 22 Arab nations, Israel and the United States by 2013.
A free trade agreement between the US and Morocco went into effect on January 1, and a similar agreement with Bahrain was approved by Congress last December and is expected to take force this March.
Other trade agreements now exist between the United States and Israel and Jordan.
The same protectionist streak in Washington prompted US lawmakers last year to oppose a bid by the China National Offshore Oil Corp. to acquire the US oil company Unocal on national security grounds.
CNOOC finally dropped its effort and left the company to be bought by U.S. firm Chevron Corp.
The US has championed open markets in the developing world through its influence in international financial organizations like the Washington-based World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, the Geneva-based World Trade Organization, as well as through its political influence and aid programs.