UAE-GCC trade crosses $100 billion mark

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A view of six Gulf Cooperation Council member states' currencies. Photo -

Khalid Ali Al Bustani, Director-General of the Federal Customs Authority of the UAE, announced on Monday total trade between the UAE and other GCC countries amounted to AED372.5 billion ($101.5 billion) during the 2003-2011 period, thanks to the customs union and other trade agreements. Trade grew at a rate between 5-9% per annum, he added.

The total value of non-oil trade between the UAE and GCC countries under the 2003 Customs Union went up from AED17 billion to AED63.2 billion ($4.63bn to $17.21bn) at the end of 2011, registering a growth rate of 272%.

Al Bustani explained that the trade balance between the UAE and the GCC countries was in his country’s favour during the 2003-2011 period, as both exports and re-exports exceeded imports. The total value of imports by the UAE from the GCC countries amounted to AED160.3 billion ($43.46bn), while the total value of UAE exports and re-exports to the GCC was AED212.5 billion ($57.85bn).

The top UAE trade official noted that Saudi Arabia emerged as the primary GCC commercial partner from 1999 to 2011, followed by Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, and Bahrain respectively. The total value of non-oil trade with Saudi Arabia from 1999-2011 stood at AED178.7 billion ($48.65bn), or 42% of total bilateral trade with GCC countries. UAE’s trade with Qatar was AED69.7 billion ($18.98bn; 16% of total GCC trade); Oman AED61 billion ($16.61bn; 14.4%); Kuwait AED58 billion ($15.79bn; 13.7%); and Bahrain, AED55.6 billion ($15.14bn; 13%).

Al-Bustani said that the UAE Federal Customs Authority, in cooperation with customs administrations and local authorities, has been active on several fronts to enhance cooperation under the Customs Union since its creation, including participation in meetings at various levels to discuss financial and economic cooperation.

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