Study: Arab-U.S. Trade Unharmed by anti-Bush Sentiments

Research of 19 Arab states challenges perception that negative image of U.S. impacted trade or travel.

The Arab world's negative image of America under the Bush administration did little to impact regional demand for U.S. products, nor did it keep regional academics from traveling or studying in the United States, according to a recently released study.

Former State Department official Dr. David Pollock of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy looked at 19 Arab states over the course 2000-2008.

The conclusions of his study challenge the perception that public opinion of the United States may have been negatively impacted by opposition to American policy.

Despite the increase during these years of anti-American protests coupled with opposition to the U.S. at the United Nations, U.S. trade rose significantly, as did the sale of American-made weapons to Arab states.

There was a decline in visa demands immediately after September 11, according to the study, but by 2008 the numbers were back up and even higher than before.

Pollock told Haaretz that he was surprised by the study's conclusions, having assumed that public opinion influenced not just the media, but trade and demand as well.

However, he said, the statistics showed that demonstrations and business interests were not necessarily related, and that negative image of a country would not necessarily carry a similar impact on supply and demand.