United Arab Emirates. Tips for successful importing / exporting

United Arab Emirates exports increased at an average annual rate of 5% from 2016.

In 2018, its import coverage by exports ratio (X/M) was 137%. Moreover, its trade per capita indicator places exports at 35,874 USD per inhabitant (X/Population), while imports per capita reached the figure of 26,269 USD per inhabitant (M/Population).

Having said that, Dubai, one of the seven Emirates, will host the World’s Expo 2020, from October 2020 to April 2021. It will gather 192 countries and it will entail an increase in UAE’s international standing and will open up new business opportunities.

Another project in Dubai is “Dubai Creek Tower”, the tower will become the tallest tower in the world once it is completed in 2020, or later.

How to maximise your chance of success in the UAE’s market

If the next step in your internationalisation process is the UAE’s market, it is advisable to keep the following key factors in mind:

  1. United Arab Emirates (UAE) was the 16 largest exporting economy in 2018, with a total of 345.5 billion USD according World Bank statistics.
  2. Followed by Spain with 345.1 Billion and behind Singapore with 412.6 Billion USD. The countries within its geographical area of influence like Saudi Arabia, Iran and Qatar were placed in positions 20, 36 and 40 respectively.
  3. During the period 2016-2018, exports increased at an average annual rate of 5% from 295 billion USD in 2016 to 345.5 billion USD in 2018.
  4. In 2015, exports of technological products (medium high tech products), represented 20% out of the total of exported manufactured products.
  5. GDP per capita in 2018 was 74,943 USD. The population reached 9.6 million inhabitants.
  6.  The urban population is 87%. The biggest cities are: Dubai (1.1 million inhabitants), Abu Dhabi (603,492 inhabitants) and Sharjah (543,733 inhabitants).
  7. 98% out of total population uses internet. The number of mobile phone subscriptions is 2.09 per inhabitant.
  8. During the period 2013-2018, direct foreign investment (FDI) received by United Arab Emirates reached the average annual figure of 10 billion USD.     .
  9. Its main trading partners are India, which represents 32% of exchanges, followed by China with 24% and Japan with 17%. The total amount of exchanges among them is 73%.
  10. Regarding bilateral agreements, United Arab Emirates has 4 existing regional trade treaties. Its presence in international markets will be bolstered by 3 new treaties which will come into force soon (at the date of this publication).
  11. The legal system is based on mixed legal system of Islamic (sharia) law and civil law. The type of government is a federation of monarchies (Emirates). The seven Emirates are: Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Al Fujayrah, Sharjah, Dubai, Ra’s al Khaymah, Umm al Qaywayn.

Check market infographic for more detailed information. Download it here for free.

Emiratos Árabes Unidos. Consejos para importarexportar con éxito

Useful addresses are:

  • https://www.mofaic.gov.ae/en
  • http://www.abudhabichamber.ae
  • http://www.dubaichamber.com
  • http://www.fcciuae.ae/
  • https://www.centralbank.ae/en


Need more information about the market. Please contact me xavireverter@exportwings.com         

Data from 2018, other years are stated.


  • https://data.worldbank.org/
  • http://www.intracen.org/
  • https://www.wto.org/index.htm
  • https://oec.world/en/
  • https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/resources/the-world-factbook/

Photo by ZQ Lee on Unsplash

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