UAE controls quarter of Arab trade

The UAE maintained its position as the top Arab country in terms of commercial exchange which exceeded $490 billion in 2011, accounting for nearly a quarter of the region’s total trade, according to official data.Saudi Arabia, the world’s dominant oil exporter, came second while conflict-battered Iraq was ranked third, followed by Qatar and Kuwait.

Exports and imports by the UAE, the second largest Arab economy, totalled around $490.5 billion in 2011, accounting for nearly 24.3 per cent of the overall Arab commercial exchange of about $2,013 billion, showed the figures by the Kuwaiti-based Inter-Arab Investment Guarantee Corporation (IAIGC).

Imports were estimated at around $205 billion last year, the highest in the Arab region, while exports stood at $285 billion, the second largest after Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia came second by commercial exchange which stood at around $475.5 billion in 2011, including nearly $364.5 billion worth of exports.Saudi Arabia has always dominated the export scene in the Arab world given its massive oil production, now at more than nine million barrels per day.It had also been the dominant market in the region before it was overtaken by the UAE over the past few years as the largest importer in the 21-nation Arab League.

Iraq emerged as the third largest trade centre in the region, with a total of round $137 billion in 2011. It was followed by Qatar with nearly $124.5 billion, Kuwait with $123.5 billion and Algeria with around $119.5 billion.

Other major trading countries in the region include Egypt with a total of $88 billion last year, Oman with around $70 billion and Morocco with nearly $65 billion.A recent UN report showed the UAE was ranked 25th largest global importer of goods and 19th exporter in the world last year, becoming the only Arab nation to be among the top 30 markets.

The report by the World Trade Organization showed the UAE accounted for nearly 1.1 per cent of the world’s total imports of goods of around $15.37 trillion and 1.5 per cent of the global exports of $15.23 trillion.China, one of the fastest growing economies, overtook the United States for the first time as the world’s top exporter, with around $1.57 trillion last year, but remained behind the US by imports.

The figures showed the US imports totalled around $1.96 trillion while those of China stood at 1.39 trillion.A large part of the UAE’s non-oil trade is handled by Dubai, the region’s commercial entrepot which handles over 20 per cent of the Gulf non-oil trade.

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