The European Union, EU, is among the UAE’s largest trading partners where non-oil trade between the country and the regional bloc stood at more than $65 billion in 2015, up from $10.2 in 1999, including trade via free zones, Assistant Under-Secretary for Foreign Trade Affairs at the UAE Ministry of Economy Juma Mohammed Al Kait said during the first EU-Arab World Summit, held on 3rd-4th November in Athens, Greece.
Trade between the two partners exceeded Dh32 billion in the first half of 2016, he said in a speech at a session of the summit.
The UAE was EU’s 13th largest trading partner and the eighth largest destination of European exports in 2015, Al Kait noted.
The figures reflect huge opportunities for comprehensive development for both the UAE and the EU if their economic relations are expanded beyond trade relations, he said.
The UAE is the EU’s largest Arab trading partner, accounting for 44% and 23% of the bloc’s non-oil trade with the six-member Gulf Co-operation Council member, and trade with the entire Arab region respectively, according to WAM.
Economic diversification, a pillar of development in the UAE, helped attract European companies to establish more than 1,200 branches across various sectors, accounting for more than 30% of the total number of branches of all foreign companies, Al Kait said.
Business people and representatives of the UAE’s private sector took part in the summit, which is especially important as the volume of trade between the Arab countries and the EU has hit $373 billion.
The UAE airlines operate non-stop flights to more than 25 destinations in Europe, contributing to stronger trade and economic relations.
European investments in the UAE account for 20% of all foreign investments in the country, Al Kait said.
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