Open Economy

A member of the World Trade Organization since 1996, the UAE supports open trade and has stable trade relations with countries throughout the world. Thanks to its open economy, attractive business environment and continued economic growth, the UAE has emerged as a key international trade hub between East and West.

The UAE’s main export commodities are crude oil, natural gas, re-exports, dried fish and dates. Its main import commodities are machinery and transport equipment, chemicals and food.

As part of its initiatives to create an open, diverse economy, the UAE government empowers young people to find innovative solutions to pressing challenges in business, government, science and beyond. In 2019, young people surveyed throughout the Arab world selected the UAE as the top country to emulate and to live in for the eighth year running.

The UAE’s top 5 import partners are:

  1. India - 17.50%
    Primary products: cotton, accessories, gems and jewelry, man-made yarn, fabrics, manufacturers of metals, cotton yarn, marine products, machinery and instruments, plastic and linoleum products, tea.

  2. China - 14.00%
    Primary products: textile products, clothes, light industrial products, handicrafts, machinery and products made from gold, silver, copper, iron, tin.

  3. United States - 7.70%
    Primary products: transport equipment, machinery, computer & electronic products, primary metal manufacturing, chemicals.

  4. Germany - 5.60%
    Primary products: machineries, electronics, chemical products, measurement and control technology, iron, steel.

  5. Japan - 4.82%
    Primary products: transport equipment, electrical machinery, general machinery, foodstuff, raw materials, mineral fuels.

The UAE’s top 5 export partners are:

  1. Japan - 17.10%
    Primary products: crude oil, aluminum.

  2. India - 13.60%
    Primary products: pearls, precious and semi-precious stones, gold, pulp and waste paper, sulphur and unroasted iron pyrites, metalifer ore and metal scrap, organic and inorganic chemicals.

  3. Iran - 6.90%
    Primary products: pearls, precious and semi-precious stones, gold, pulp and waste paper, sulphur and unroasted iron pyrites, metalifer ore and metal scrap, organic and inorganic chemicals.

  4. South Korea - 6.10%
    Primary products: crude oil, petroleum products such as naphtha and liquefied petroleum gas, aluminum, copper.

  5. Thailand - 5.10%
    Primary products: crude oil, scrap metal, gold and silver bar, chemicals.

US Trade with the UAE

In 2018, the UAE was the largest export market in the Middle East for the United States – a distinction held for the tenth year in a row. Total trade between the two countries totaled $24.5 billion, with the US exporting $19.5 billion to the UAE. The resulting $14.5 billion trade surplus was the United States' fourth largest trade surplus globally.

This year’s trade data, including a state-by-state breakdown of US exports to the UAE can be found on a dedicated page of the UAE Embassy website.

Sources:

  1. CIA World Factbook
  2. US Department of Commerce, US Census Bureau