UAE mulls new laws to boost domestic trade
Abu Dhabi, November 22, 2009
The UAE government is keen to develop enhanced commercial and economic laws to meet the evolving needs of domestic business sector, improve investment climates, and support market competitiveness, said Minister of Foreign Trade (MoFT).
Sheikha Lubna Bint Khalid Al Qasimi was addressing the officials of the Federation of UAE Chambers of Commerce and Industry and the UAE’s various of chambers of commerce and industry at a key meeting in Abu Dhabi.
Despite the ongoing crisis, the UAE's foreign trade will achieve positive growth rates and contribute to the emirates’ enhanced regional and global business position, she noted.
The minister also discussed nationwide business conditions, trade and investment promotions strategies, and proposals to enhance co-operation between MoFT and the private sector with the aim of stimulating trade in the country.
The attendees also discussed the latest trade developments in the UAE as well as key factors for the next phase of business growth in the domestic market in light of the country’s successful hurdling of the global financial crisis.
The Minister assured attendees that UAE foreign trade exhibited no worrying signs. She pointed out that the UAE’s competitive and investment-friendly environment had grown stronger and more durable amidst the downturn, noting the numerous exhibitions organized by various sectors in the country and the active participation of overseas companies.
'This is a strong evidence of the recovery of the domestic market from the financial crisis, the increased confidence of global companies in the local market, the growth of the local economy and the UAE’s ability to confront all regional and global challenges,' Sheikha Lubna stated.
She cited the Dubai Air Show as a perfect example, noting the large number of countries and companies involved and the first-ever presence of 150 companies from 20 countries.
This, she said, indicates global confidence in the development of the UAE economy and its commitment to excelling in the domestic market, adding that the country offers competitive facilities and attractive incentives to create an ideal work environment.
'We are one country, there is no preference for Abu Dhabi, Dubai or any other emirate. The growth and development taking place in any emirate is part of the UAE’s overall success,' said the Minister, emphasizing the need for studying best practices in some critical issues and business and economic matters in the various emirates and adopting these across the UAE.
MoFT director general Abdullah Ahmed Al Saleh pointed out that foreign trade would be the most affected sector by the economic recovery from the global financial crisis.
He said the UAE’s volume of non-oil trade to increase by 10 per cent this year over 2008’s Dh789 billion. He noted that the second half of this year has seen huge activity in foreign trade, especially in re-exports, representing a significant rise from March and leading to positive growth rates for 2009 as a whole.
He also revealed that the total volume of the UAE’s non-oil trade for the first half of this year amounted to AED310 billion, and that non-oil exports rose 24 per cent over the first half of 2008.
He added that UAE imports for the same period declined 20 per cent, consequently affecting trade balance via a 25 per cent decline in trade deficit during the first half of 2009 compared to the corresponding period last year.
The MoFT official further explained that the UAE’s non-oil exports constituted 53.3 per cent of total exports, while oil exports accounted for about 46.7 per cent. He added that the non-oil sectors contributed 63.2 per cent of GDP, while the oil sector accounted for 36.8 per cent.
He highlighted the importance of opening new markets for UAE products and expanding the geographical scope of the country’s foreign trade so as not to limit itself to only 10 key partner countries. He referred to Asia and Africa in particular as favorable markets.
Al Saleh identified India as the UAE’s top trading partner, accounting for around Dh118 billion of the total foreign trade volume in 2008.
Its contribution to the structure of foreign trade amounted to 15 per cent, followed by China at 8.6 per cent (Dh68 billion); the United States at 6.2 per cent (Dh49 billion); Japan (Dh48.3 billion); Germany (Dh39 billion); Switzerland (Dh31 billion) and the United Kingdom (Dh30 billion).
On the free trade agreements, Al Saleh said the UAE was negotiating with various countries and economic and trade blocs as part of the GCC.
'The GCC countries have signed initial agreements with Singapore, the ASEAN Free Trade Area and New Zealand, and candidate signatory countries includes South Korea and the European Union,' he added.-TradeArabia News Service