UAE: an overview
The RBS group has been present in UAE since 1973. Our Capital
Global Transaction Services (GTS) business offers clients Abu Dhabi
cash and liquidity management, trade and supply chain
finance, and commercial cards. Our services are delivered
through a dedicated team of local banking professionals, Dubai, Sharjah, Jebel Ali.
who are supported by regional teams and experts from Language
across our global network. Arabic (Official)
So, however large or small your operations in UAE, we can
offer the services and support to help you succeed. Economic overview
The UAE has an open and relatively diversified economy.
Geography Oil and gas now only account for 25% of GDP. The
government has invested heavily in infrastructure and has
created Free Trade Zones across the emirates in which
foreign owned companies can trade tax free.
The UAE returned to growth in 2010 after a contraction of
2.7% in 2009 2. The UAE authorities attempted to limit the
impact of the world financial crisis by increasing spending
and providing additional capital for the banking sector. In
2009 the emirate of Abu Dhabi came to the aid of Dubai
after falling property prices left it unable to meet its debt
UAE is expected to see an acceleration of economic
growth of around 4% in 2011 3.
Sharjah Economic indicators
2009 2010 % change
Population 4,985,055 5,148,664 3.282
UNITED ARAB GDP US$194.7 billion US$199.8 billion 2.62
GDP per capita US$40,600 US$40,200 -0.99
Exports US$192 billion US$196 billion 1.87
The United Arab Emirates is situated in the Middle East Imports US$150 billion US$159 billion 6.00
bordering Oman, Saudi Arabia, the Persian Gulf (Arabian
Gulf) and the Gulf of Oman. Its population of five million Unemployment - - -
is made up of around 80% expatriates 1. Abu Dhabi is the
Inflation 1.6% 2.2% 38
capital of the UAE. The other emirates are Dubai, Sharjah,
Fujarah, Ajman, Um Al Quwain and Ras Al Khaimah. Each Public debt 48.9% of GDP 44.6% of GDP -8.79
emirate has its own ruling family and distinct economy. The
Source: CIA World Factbook
federation is governed by a Supreme Council made up of
the rulers of the seven emirates.
1 UKTI: Doing Business in the UAE 3 National Bank of Abu Dhabi: Economic Outlook 2011
2 CIA World Factbook
Imports by country (% share) Imports by industry (% total imports)
China Precious Stones
15 India 18 Electrical Equipment
Germany 47 Commodities
Other Iron & Steel
6 5 Other
Source: CIA World Factbook, 2009 Source: International Trade Centre, Trade Performance HS, 2009
Exports by country (% share) Exports by industry (% total exports)
17 South korea 2 10 Precious Stones
Source: CIA World Factbook, 2009 Source: International Trade Centre, Trade Performance HS, 2009
The UAE has a per capita income to rival the wealthiest
western economies and with a large expatriate community
there are therefore opportunities in most consumer market
Currency and exchange rate
sectors. The UAE’s strategic objective is to diversify its
Recent average 5.79 Dirham = £1 Sterling
economy away from a reliance on oil revenues. Abu Dhabi is
investing in new industrial cities, real estate developments, Exchange controls
ports, hotels and in expanding its airport. Dubai is
There is no exchange control authority in the UAE. Inward
developing as a regional exhibition, financial, trade and
and outward transfers do not require registration. No
tourism hub. Specific opportunities exist in energy, travel
restrictions on foreign exchange exist, except Israeli
and tourism, financial and professional services, transport
currency and the currencies of those countries subject to
and logistics, construction, education and healthcare.
Repatriation of capital
There are no restrictions on returning capital invested in
UAE back to its country of origin.
There is no VAT, income tax or capital gains tax in the The embassies have dedicated teams, providing general
UAE though indirect taxation through official fees is and sector related support for UK businesses wishing to do
commonplace. business in UAE. They can provide information, guidance
and access to business contacts.
Contacts Federation of UAE Chambers of Commerce and
UK contacts PO Box 3014
UK Trade and Investment Abu Dhabi
1 Victoria Street Dubai
Tel: 00 971 4 621 4144
Tel: 020 7215 2471
Provides investment information, advice on trading in UAE
and details of trade events and networking opportunities.
UK Government support agency dedicated to assisting UK
businesses to export. Provides sector and country specific Statutory requirements
information and advice, trade fair and outward mission
participation and bespoke market intelligence services.
United Arab Emirates Embassy The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
30 Prince’s Gate controls the export of goods according to the nature of
London SW7 1PT the goods and their intended use, and also their intended
Tel: 020 7581 1281 destination. For current export controls refer to:
Provides travel and investment information including Import restrictions and licences
access to advice on trading in UAE. Most goods can be imported without restriction. Prohibited
Arab-British Chamber of Commerce items include asbestos, used pneumatic tyres, industrial
43 Upper Grosvenor Street waste, Houbara falcons, ivory and rhinoceros horn, live
London W1K 2NJ camels and any printed material offensive to Muslims.
All goods of Israeli origin are prohibited.
Tel: 020 7235 4363
www.abcc.org.uk A licence is required to import tobacco and alcohol. An
importer with a licence to import foodstuffs and poultry
Provides trade advice and information regarding business
products may import pork products. There are however
opportunities; as well as a certification and legalisation of
certain municipal regulations on the display and storage
export documents service.
of the items in sale outlets or their stores. In order for
Local contacts pharmaceutical products to be imported, prior registration
with the Ministry of Health is required.
Khalid Bin Waleed Street Some food additives are prohibited in foodstuffs sold
PO Box 248 or imported into the United Arab Emirates. Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi has banned the importation of artificial sweeteners in
foodstuffs, including soft drinks. Sharjah has banned the
Tel: 00 971 2 610 1100
import of products containing saccharine. Dubai prefers
that imported products do not contain artificial sweeteners.
British Embassy Shelf-life dates must be shown.
Al Seef Road
PO Box 65 Samples
Dubai There are no specific regulations and duty is not usually
Tel: 00 971 4 309 4404 levied on imported samples. ATA carnets are not
http://ukinuae.fco.gov.uk/en/ recognised by the UAE.
Marking of goods Commercial invoices
Generally there are no special requirements, except for There is no specific format requirement, however the name
foodstuff labelling, which require: name of commodity, and address of the producer or manufacturer and full
production and expiry dates, country of origin, a list of all description of the good, should be shown. Do not use the
ingredients and additives in order of proportion (any fats term ‘Persian Gulf’.
and oils must also be included), the name and address of
the manufacturer, gross and net weight or size. Metric units Consular fees
must be used for all weights and measures and labels must Some countries will charge a legalisation fee for documents
be in Arabic, although an English translation is permitted. such as a certificate of origin. Contact the local chamber of
commerce for current fees.
There are no specific regulations. The term ‘Persian Consular invoices
Gulf’ should not be used but the term ‘Arabian Gulf’ is A consular invoice is a document certifying a shipment
acceptable. of goods and shows information such as the consignor,
consignee and value of the shipment. A consular invoice is
Packing materials not required in UAE.
Materials should be suitable for the extremely high
temperatures in the UAE. Pharmaceutical products Bills of lading
must not be transported at a temperature in excess of A bill of lading is a document issued by a carrier to a
25 degrees centigrade. shipper acknowledging receipt of goods to a named place
of delivery. As some countries specify the type of bill of
Duties lading that will be acceptable it is important to check with
Tariff based on the harmonised system (HS). Duties are the relevant customs authority. In UAE a bill of lading may
generally ad valorem on the c.i.f. value. Products brought be ‘To order’.
into a free zone within the UAE are exempt from duty.
The telephone or fax number of the notify party should be
shown. Ensure that the HS commodity code number is
shown against the description of the goods.
No specific requirements.
Documentation To find out more about how RBS can support
your business needs in UAE, please contact your
Special certificates relationship manager or call 0800 210 0235.
A health certificate from the country of origin is required
for all imported beef and poultry products; together with
a halal slaughter certificate issued by an approved Islamic
centre in the country of origin.
A radiation-free certificate is required for foodstuffs of
European origin, issued by the relevant government
department. This must be certified by the Arab-British
Chamber of Commerce and legalised by the Embassy.
Certificates of origin
Arab-British certificate of origin must be used (obtained
from authorised chambers of commerce who arrange for
any required legalisation). For all goods show name and
address of producer or manufacturer.
This marketing communication is for information purposes only and does not constitute a binding obligation on The Royal Bank of Scotland plc or The Royal Bank of Scotland N.V.
The Royal Bank of Scotland plc. Registered in Scotland No. 90312. Registered Office: 36 St Andrew Square, Edinburgh EH2 2YB.
The Royal Bank of Scotland plc is authorised and regulated in the United Kingdom by the Financial Services Authority.
The Royal Bank of Scotland N.V. is authorised by De Nederlandsche Bank and regulated by the Autoriteit Financiele Markten (AFM) for the conduct of business in the Netherlands.
The Royal Bank of Scotland plc is in certain jurisdictions an authorised agent of The Royal Bank of Scotland N.V. and The Royal Bank of Scotland N.V. is in certain jurisdictions
an authorised agent of The Royal Bank of Scotland plc.
499-0611gUK May 2011