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17 April 2024

UAE to liberalise foodstuffs trade

By Reuters

The United Arab Emirates Cabinet announced on Sunday it would liberalise trade in 12 commodities, saying this would help market stability, state news agency WAM reported.

"The 12 items that are being liberalised include livestock and dairy products, fats and oils, honey, eggs, fruit juices, salt, yeast, animal feed, detergents and hygiene products," UAE Economy Minister Sultan bin Saeed al-Mansouri said.

He said the move would strengthen the competitiveness of the UAE economy by curbing monopolistic practices and avoiding unjustified price rises.

"We will work in cooperation with various retail outlets to launch initiatives that will help reduce prices. We have received suggestions for reducing prices of about 1,000 items this year," Mansouri said, adding prices were being monitored.

The UAE, a major oil producer that has avoided the Arab Spring unrest that rocked many other countries in the region, fixed the cost of about 400 foodstuffs and household products at 70 outlets in June last year.

Rising food prices helped fuel protests that toppled the rulers of Tunisia and Egypt early last year.

The UAE has said it will spend $1.6 billion to improve infrastructure in less-developed northern emirates. It has raised military pensions by 70 per cent and introduced bread and rice subsidies.