The UAE is Germany’s strongest trading partner in the Middle East – and the two countries are set to build on their close relationship during a two-day visit by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
Trade last year between the Emirates and the European nation stood at about Dh32 billion. Despite the growth in trade – German exports to the UAE jumped by 25 per cent in 2006 – officials have warned there may be some slowdown this year due to the euro’s strong position against the dirham.
If the euro stays strong and the dirham remains weak due to its peg to the US dollar then it will hurt German exports, said Oliver Owcza, Deputy Head of Mission at the German Embassy in Abu Dhabi.
He spoke during a two-day visit to Berlin by Sheikh Mohammed at the invitation of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
In 2006, German exports to the UAE stood at Dh29.8bn and imports from the Emirates reached Dh2.4bn. Both categories have experienced more than a 24 per cent compound annual growth rate since 2003.
Automobiles topped the list of German exports to the Emirates, followed by machinery and power-generation equipment. Germany’s largest import from the UAE was aluminum, embassy sources said.
Tourism is also a major source of income for the UAE as a result of countries’ close relationship. In Berlin on Tuesday, the UAE Ambassador to Germany Mohammed Al Mahmoud estimated that more than 500,000 German visitors had visited the UAE in 2007. And according to sources in the airline industry, there are a large number of daily flights going back and forth between the two. countries.
Lufthansa currently operates 24 flights weekly between Abu Dhabi, Dubai and major German cities, while Emirates operates 49 flights each week between Dubai and Germany and Etihad operates 34 via Abu Dhabi weekly.
More than 800 German firms operate in the UAE, 600 in Dubai and the Northern Emirates and 200 in Abu Dhabi.
UAE-Germany business relations set to expand