United Arab Emirates

The UAE Armed Forces have grown significantly over the years and currently are equipped with some of the most modern and sophisticated weapon systems. In order to achieve this, the UAE has allocated significant amounts of funds in the directions of defence and security in recent years. According to a report published by the US International Trade Administration, UAE’s defence expenditure in 2016 was expected to increase by 7.4%, reaching some 23.5 billion US dollars, from 21.8 billion in 2015

The UAE is a high-income nation, small in size, but with a very open economy. Typically, the industrial sector contributes more than 61% of the country’s GDP, while services contribute about 38% and agriculture a bit less than 1%, according to 2013 data.

Since the discovery of oil, the country has experienced significant economic progress. It is indicative that the average GDP growth rate for the period 2000-2006, was about 8.4%, considerably higher than all other GCC countries, which averaged a 6.5%, over the same period. After the economic downturn the country experienced in 2009, the economy recovered, recording an average annual growth of 4.2%, over the period 2010-2015.

According to a report published by the UAE’s Central Bank, in 2015, the country’s GDP grew by 3.4% slightly decreased compared to 2014, when growth reached 4%. This should be largely attributed to the decline of oil revenues contribution to the country’s GDP, a fact that is associated with the internationally falling oil prices. Nevertheless, it should be stated that the diversification as of lately of the national economy, helped to mitigate this negative impact, as evident by the fact that the non-oil economic activity continued to grow, at a respectable rate (3.7%).

The UAE is among the world’s most dynamic markets in terms of foreign trade. In 2014, foreign trade value reached AED 2.58 trillion (702 billion US dollars) slightly increased when compared with 2013, when it reached AED 2.53 trillion. Dubai is the leading regional export hub and one of the biggest export centres in the world. Top export partners for the UAE are mainly countries from the Middle East and Asia. Specifically, China was the most important export partner for the UAE in 2015, as it imported goods and services from this GCC country, amounting to some 37.1 billion US dollars. On the other hand, Japan was the most important import partner in 2015 for the UAE, exporting goods and services totalling some 23.5 billion US dollars to the country.

Dubai, as a major logistics hub, holds the lion’s share as a contributor to the country’s foreign trade. In 2015, Dubai recorded AED 132 billion in non-oil exports, as well as AED 355 billion in re-exports. Major trading partners for Dubai were China, India, the US, Saudi Arabia and Germany.

Further, as a result of the government’s efforts to diversify the local economy, revenues from non-oil exports nowadays comprise a sizable portion of the country’s overall foreign trade.

The top destinations for UAE non-oil exports in 2015, included India, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Switzerland, Iraq and Turkey.