United Arab Emirates Business Profile
Statistics• GDP: US$104.2 billion (2004).
• Main exports: Crude oil, natural gas, re-exports, dried fish and dates.
• Main imports: Machinery and transport equipment, chemicals and food.
• Main trade partners: Exports to: Japan, Korea (Rep), India and Thailand; Imports from: China, India, Japan, Germany, UK, France and USA.
EconomyOil and gas are the Emirates’ main industries, and underpin the country’s considerable prosperity. Outside the oil and gas sector, which includes refining and the production of oil-derived chemicals, most economic activity is government sponsored, and designed to diversify the economy and reduce dependence on oil. This strategy has been reasonably successful and the oil sector’s contribution to GDP is now down to about 45%.
Chemicals, aluminium and steel production are the most important of the new industries. Other newly established industries produce consumer goods for the domestic market. There is some agriculture, mostly livestock rearing, in what is an unfavourable climate; fishing is also significant.
The economy has boomed in recent years. At the end of 2005, the International Monetary Fund predicted the UAE’s economy would become the third largest in East and Central Asia. Most of the country’s economic development has been concentrated in the two richest and most powerful of the seven emirates, Abu Dhabi and Dubai; the remainder are relatively underdeveloped.
UAE is a member of OPEC, and of the Gulf Co-operation Council which is increasingly concerning itself with regional economic collaboration. Plans to establish a customs union among the six member states are well advanced, and the GCC has sought advice from the EU on the creation of a single currency.
Business EtiquetteBusiness entertaining is often lavish. Suits should be worn and prior appointments are essential. English is widely spoken in business circles, but translation services are likely to be available.
Office hours: Sat-Wed 0800-1300 and 1500/1600-1800/1900 and Thurs 0800-1200.
Government office hours: Sat-Wed 0730-1330, Thurs 0730-1200.
All offices are closed every afternoon during the month of Ramadan.
Commercial InformationFederation of UAE Chambers of Commerce and Industry
PO Box 3014, Abu Dhabi, UAE
Tel: (2) 621 4144.
Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Dubai World Trade Centre (Information on
Conferences & ConventionsThe Dubai International Congress Centre can accommodate 10,000 delegates. At Port Rashid in Dubai, the cruise terminal has a wide range of facilities including a business centre with Internet access and a conference room. Dubai World Trade Centre hosts a multitude of events (including car rallies and tennis exhibitions). Many hotels in the UAE offer high-standard conference and meeting facilities.
Send E-mail to
TSN@The-Saudi.Net with questions or
comments about The Saudi Network.