Welcome from Lesley Batchelor OBE, FIEx (Grad) – Director General, Institute of Export & International Trade
This new Doing Business in the United Arab Emirates Guide introduces one of the world’s strongest economies and a market with a key strategic location for a broad range of sectors. With Dubai and Abu Dhabi among the biggest business destinations in the world, the UAE has become a global hub for innovation and a home to many international businesses.
Lucrative oil exports have funded the country’s social and economic transformation since the 1960s, yet there is much more to the UAE’s success. The UAE has made the most of its location at the centre of the Gulf countries, Indian subcontinent, Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and Africa, helping it get to 21 in the World Bank’s Doing Business rankings.
UK trade relations with the UAE have been shaped by the EU-GCC Cooperation Agreement and the two blocs meet on an annual basis to discuss trade among other topics. A new dialogue on trade and investment was launched in May 2017 as a sign of strengthening bonds between the European Union and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
The GCC, which has formed its own customs union, was the EU’s fourth largest export market in 2017 with exports to the region largely focused around industrial products like power generation plants, electrical machinery, mechanical appliances and transport. The UAE is the UK’s largest export market in the Middle East and Africa with a healthy trade in capital goods, machinery and electronics. The UAE’s biggest import from the UK is consumer goods.
The seven Emirates within the UAE are now home to just under 10 million people. The population is largely young, high-income and urban, with a large number of expatriates from over 150 countries. Indeed, such is the financial power of Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the number of UK expatriates working in the financial services and other large corporates in the UAE should be sufficient reason for the UAE to be a prime market for our exporters.
There are challenges selling into the UAE and it’s important that exporters are diligent with their export documentation when sending goods there. The Institute of Export & International Trade’s customs compliance courses and qualifications are designed to help you sell to markets like the UAE without making costly mistakes. Feel free to get in touch if you’re looking for support in exporting to the UAE and we wish you luck with it!
Lesley Batchelor OBE, FIEx (Grad)
Director General – Institute of Export & International Trade
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