US welcomes investment from region: Paulson

Gulf allies of the United States were yesterday reassured it would continue to welcome investment from the region by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson.

But he stressed Gulf oil producers should open up their hydrocarbons sector to foreign capital to increase crude output and restore balance to the oil markets.

During remarks made at the close of his visit to the region, he rejected Opec's opinion speculation was to blame for recent increases, which he said was the result of an imbalance between supply and demand. "Some here worry about growing protectionist sentiment in the United States, and they also worry specifically that US sentiment toward regional investment has been permanently affected by the DP World case," he said.

"My response is the same as that expressed by President Bush during his Middle East visit two weeks ago. As we seek to open new markets abroad, America will keep its markets open at home to investment from private firms and from sovereign wealth funds. We reject measures that would isolate us from the world economy."