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The UK’s Department for International Trade has released UK-UAE trade statistics for 2017. Trade of goods and services between the two countries was worth £17.5bn. This figure represents a 12.3% increase on 2016’s data. There was an 8% increase in goods and services from the UK to the UAE, and a 20.8% increase in goods and services from the UAE to the UK.
The top 5 goods imported from the UK into the UAE in 2017 were:
Machinery and mechanical appliances (39.4% of all UK goods exported to United Arab Emirates)
Electrical machinery and equipment (14.6%)
Precious stones and metals (8.9%)
Vehicles other than railway or tramway stock (6.9%)
Optical, photographic, cinematographic and medical equipment (4.1%)
The top 5 UK goods exported out of the UAE were:
Machinery and mechanical appliances (39.5% of all UK goods imported from United Arab Emirates)
Mineral fuels or oils, products of their distillation (22.4%)
Precious stones and metals (10.6%)
Aircraft, spacecraft, and parts thereof (10.3%)
Optical, photographic, cinematographic and medical equipment (3.5%)
The two lists are almost identical because the UAE is the trade hub for its region. Historically the UAE has been a regional centre for trade as it connects Europe to Asia, today, with numerous large sea ports and what will be the world’s largest airport (which is still under construction but started operations in 2010), the UAE is a leader of re-export.
We often talk about the opportunity the UAE holds for UK companies and as we’re based in UAE we’re often biased toward the local market and the demand within it. Data like this goes a long way to reiterating the message that expansion to the UAE does not mean the opening of just one market, it could also mean the opening of the MENASA region. In 2017 the United Nations selected Dubai as its data hub for the MENASA region.
The 20.8% increase in UK goods shipped from the UAE shows that the rest of the region demands UK quality goods. Whilst companies in Asia may be able to offer a cheaper price on similar products, there is a large portion of the market which realises that British goods historically are better and buy on reputation. The UK is industrious and its experience with manufacture surpassses that of most of the world’s nations.
The most convenient way for a UK manufacturer to export to the UAE, and then re-export, would be to establish a branch office in the UAE. The BCB offers a two year incubation service which allows UK firms to establish on-shore with the minimal amount of fuss. If you’d like to know more please contact us.