There is consensus among regional and international observers that the UAE’s foreign policy is a model for dynamism and effectiveness, thanks to the clear-cut vision and principles laid out by His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, (May God Bless him) for managing UAE’s relations with other countries.
UAE diplomacy works accordingly and His Highness Sheikh Abdulla bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs has taken unprecedented steps that made a huge contribution to crisis management in the Arab region. This success is highly commendable as it comes in the wake of the “Arab Spring” with all its accompanying security, political, economic and humanitarian crises in many Arab nations. Assisted by GCC nations and the world community, the UAE played a remarkable role that placed it high on the agenda of the world powers and decision-makers. A case in point is UAE’s role in crisis management of the internal situation in Libya, Yemen and the Kingdom of Bahrain. This was done in coordination with GCC nations (as exemplified by the “GCC’s Yemen Initiative) and NATO (for defending the civilians in Libya), as well as coordinated efforts with GCC nations to maintain security and stability in Bahrain. This drive was based on the firm belief in common destiny, purpose, and the need to encounter internal security within the framework of the Gulf collective joint action.
In his recent annual meeting with the UAE ambassadors and representatives of regional and international organizations His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, expressed his satisfaction saying “The success of the UAE foreign policy is a landmark based on the constant principles of UAE’s moderate, carefully balanced policy towards Arab and international causes, which has earned us world recognition”.
Observers and pundits agree that this success, accompanied by internal security and stability, is logical, considering the shrewd diplomacy laid out by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan (May God bless his soul). This diplomacy gained another thrust by the directives of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and dynamic efforts of His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces. Higher horizons became reachable, and the UAE took many initiatives in a number of crucial issues, and won world recognition as with the case of renewable energy, nuclear proliferation, international peace and security etc. An example was set by the UAE which has adopted a policy with regard to peaceful nuclear programs – a model to follow in dealing with such technology of exceptional sensitivity to international peace and security.
Observers would also realize that UAE’s foreign policy has evolved in synchronization with regional developments, thus serving as a mirror of regional and international realities. This was done without having to undermine the unique UAE foreign policy tenets based on good neighborliness. A “model state” is thus born, not only in terms of political structure, but also in economic development.
Today the UAE offers a perfect example of the wisdom and farsightedness of its leaders who have, since the formation of the Federation in 1971, successfully overcome major regional crises such as Gulf war in 1990s, the eight year- long Iran-Iraq War, and the September 11, 2011 New York bombings which caused sharp divisions in international alliances and relations.
UAE’s Diplomatic Priorities
It is no secret how deep the UAE’s relations of cooperation are with many regional and international powers, most notably the United States, France, United Kingdom, Germany and Japan. This file sheds some light on the new trends of the UAE foreign policy which tapped wider horizons in order to build partnerships with the new rising powers on the world map, notably China, India, South Korea, Latin America and others. The UAE diplomacy stands at crossroads dictated by status quo as today economy and development have become the cornerstones in managing relations between nations.
Experts now realize that economy, investments, diversified sources of income and sustainable environmental and renewable energy programs have become the main driver of UAE’s foreign policy as against the classical topics such as regional and international political events which were relegated to second place. However, a strategic relationship is still maintained with big capitals such as Beijing, Seoul, and New Delhi in the east, and Brasilia, Bogota, Montevideo and elsewhere in the west.This new policy seeking to make use of various global economic and investment opportunities is based on a carefully balanced foreign policy serving UAE’s internal and external objectives. This was highlighted by His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan last April at the ceremony of receiving the credentials of 12 new foreign ambassadors of friendly countries and three UAE ambassadors to NATO, Libya and Kuwait. His Highness affirmed “UAE’s interest in extending a hand of friendship, cooperation and tolerance to world countries, establishing balanced relations with friendly nations and developing UAE’s economic, cultural and tourist relations with all world countries”.
UAE’s foreign policy is outlined by a number of governing factors:
First: Balance, whereby relations are maintained with all world countries to expand choices and space.
Second: Integration. Fully integrated relations with the outer world are not limited to politics, but rather extended to include economic, culture, tourism and other vital sectors which could add a new fortifying dimension to foreign policy.
Third: Serve domestic objectives by getting in touch with successful development plans elsewhere, selecting the most appropriate and having them properly adjusted to serve our development plans in various areas.
This drive comes in total conformity with UAE’s principles ever since the Federation was announced; namely comply with UN conventions and international laws, establish relations will all nations on the basis of mutual respect, non-interference with the internal affairs of other nations, settle disputes among nations by dialogue and with peaceful means, support just causes and contribute to international peace and security. These are the principles laid down by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan which convey an important message: that the UAE, while interacting vigorously with the fluctuations of the age, would stand by its tenets.
Accordingly, there is a consensus among experts that UAE’s foreign policy is a model for vigor, rationale and success, which has earned it world respect and appreciation. The UAE is viewed as a responsible nation at the regional and Arab levels, and with positive interaction on issues vital to the international community.
UAE’s foreign policy also reflects the ability to build bridges of understanding and cooperation with various parts of the world, especially with the rising powers in the east and the west, which serve national interests and bolster UAE’s status regionally and internationally. One prominent occasion on the past few years is UAE’s success in winning the world community’s confidence to host the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) in Abu Dhabi – a testimony on UAE’s political weight on the international arena and its huge contributions to international peace, security, stability and development. It is a true expression of global trust in UAE’s renewable energy policy, which reflected positively on local development plans, especially after investment in renewable energy have become a world trend.
UAE’s foreign policy has been energetic in easing regional and global tensions, containing crises and settling disputes. Generous direct and indirect humanitarian contributions and relief assistance were made to many developing countries, especially those ravished by disputes or natural disasters.
Significant Indicators of Success
Nations with diplomatic relations with the UAE number 182, and the UAE has 69 embassies and 11 consulates, in addition to three permanent missions. The number of foreign embassies in the UAE is 94, plus 75 general consulates and 11 offices of regional and international organizations according to Ministry of Foreign Affairs statistics. Official statistics also show that the UAE has attracted over the past five years AED 220 billion in foreign direct investments (FDI) to occupy the second place among Arab nations most attractive to foreign capital according to United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) report on international investment in 2011. The report placed the UAE among the best 30 FDI global environments. It came third in the Arab region and 27th globally in international competiveness in 2011-2012 by World Economic Forum (WEF), 8th globally in infrastructure deemed a major competitiveness factor by WEF. It came 10th globally in terms of effective commodity market, 11th in macroeconomic structure, 3rd in effective tax system and business cost-effectiveness for low-rate crime and violence. It came on the top globally in stabilized inflation rate. The World Bank 2011 entrepreneurship report placed the UAE on the third place among the best nations in cross-country trade, on 28th place globally in easy business. The UAE topped Middle East and North Africa nations and ended 16th globally in WEF World Trade 2010 Report. UAE foreign trade grew by 14 per cent to AED 754.4 billion in 2011 against AED 600.4 billion in 2009. Exports’ contribution to foreign trade structure amounted to AED 83.1 billion, and re-export to 202 nations totaled AED 186 billion. Imports amounted to AED 458.4 billion.
Promising Opportunities with Promising Economies
Experts indicate that UAE’s good trade and investment relations with China and India offer our national economy good opportunities, considering the accelerated economic growth in two of the biggest and fastest growing economies worldwide nowadays. They are also the two powerhouses to depend on in pushing world economy towards recovery, a result concluded by a recent Economist report. The report speculated that the UAE would top Middle East nations in terms of flourishing emerging economy markets in the coming years. There are many signs that indicate real recovery of UAE economy such as estimates of expected economic growth this year which will, by no means, be less than 4.5 per cent or 5 per cent according to the estimates of the UAE Ministry of Economy and a number of international organizations and magazines like “The Economist” and the World Monetary Fund (IMF). This indicates that national economy growth rate is approaching that before the world economic crisis. There are other signs that indicate that the UAE economic recovery is already in progress. One is the growth rate of non-oil foreign trade in last January that reached, according to Customs Authority data, 22 per cent, compared to growth rate in the same month last year.
The UAE stands as a unique model among Middle East nations in terms of improved performance of foreign trade, as the sector managed to take advantage of changes in world trade trends. This success stems from optimal utilization of UAE’s unique strategic location in a middle area accessible to all regions and continents. It made the UAE a vital corridor for re-exporting transit commodities and products – a mission made easier by well developed infrastructure, harbors and airports fitted with the latest methods of technology. The legislative and organizational structures also facilitated the growth of the economy.
UAE Diplomacy and the 21st Century
Considering the fast track taken by the rising economic powerhouses in Asia, the United States is faced with a strategic option: Would the United States accept to renegotiate a fresh world system with China where the latter is given a bigger role to play and a bigger opportunity to exercise more influence? Or would it insist on leading the old system? In a recent visit to Washington the Chinese Vice-President welcomed a US role in Asia so long as a Chinese role is welcomed by Washington.
Some analysts find it difficult for China to replace the United States as a world superpower. China, meantime, realizes it is no match for the only superpower, as much as Russia, Germany, France and India perceive their shortcomings, even after the formation of the European Union (EU). An “Asian Century” is a long shot. It is rather a “polarized century”, considering China’s inability to replace the United States as a world leader. But China wants to be heard, and to be part of the game – a dream possibly crossing the Chinese and Indians’ minds. What Asians need is not an “Asian century”, but rather peace which cannot be maintained unilaterally by excluding others. Africa, Latin America and Europe should be involved.
At the same time, projections show that by 2050 Asia will account for more than half the global economy and over 45 per cent of all financial assets. Asia’s will be the largest market in the world for virtually every product, so whether one likes it or not, the Asian century is already happening.
The real question is how Asians can shape their own century. Asia could help the world move towards a better system of global governance, but despite its growing economic power, the region remains greatly under-represented in the decision-making bodies of major international institutions like the IMF. Europe should support Asia’s emerging leadership if it wants to retain its own role as an active international player.
Many American writers talked about the “decline of the American eagle” in favor of the “Chinese Giant” after 9/11 bombings, two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, world financial crisis in 2008, decline of the dollar as a world reserve currency and accumulated US debt. But a recent article in the Economist says that America is still strong.
The diplomacy exercised by nations as ambitious as the UAE is designed to expand maneuverability, tap new horizons for the future and open new channels of communication and engagement based solely on common interests with all emerging powers, assuming that the majority of these powers will play some role in managing 21st century world.
Why UAE is a Preferential Partner
For starters, a successful foreign policy is based on internal assets, i.e. international success requires success in managing the home front politically, economically, socially and security-wise. Foreign policy, experts argue, is a true translation of soft and hard power, which explains one of the solid cornerstones upon which UAE foreign policy rests. It made our nation an economic partner attractive to all regional and international economies. If the UAE was successful in creating the Federation thanks to the wisdom and far-sightedness of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. The current stage is definitely an indication of a successful Federation, not only because it targets massive sustainable human, economic, social, cultural and political development, but also because it is based on integrated and coordinated strategies – a fact seen tangible in the various initiatives and directives of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan over the past years.
Many achievements have been made over the past few years. Economy-wise, the UAE has come to maintain one of the most vigorous economies in the region – an economy able to not only develop and maintain cohesion, but also to contain the implications of ensuing crises. The UAE economy managed to neutralize the aftereffects of the 2008 world economic crisis and pursue development projects.
Exceptional success was achieved in infrastructure, communications, information technology, tourism, internal and external trade, renewable energy and financial and banking services. It secured the UAE a top rank among highly developed nations.
Security-wise, a high degree of stability has been maintained, basically because of our leadership’s firm belief that security is a cornerstone for development and progress.
A good proof of UAE’s impeccable economic record is the London-based Gulf States Newsletter which said that the UAE has an exceptional regional record as a main contributor to peacekeeping missions. It highlighted the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan’s decision to defend Muslims in Albania and Kosovo in 1999 when a 1000-man infantry force, a 250-man division, special forces and Apache AH-64A helicopters were deployed.
UAE’s greatest contribution, the newsletter said, was military and humanitarian in Afghanistan within the framework of “Operation Winds of Goodness”. Forces were deployed in 2006 to keep a watchful eye on equipment and building works of Kabul Hospital near Kandahar, give humanitarian and relief assistance and dismantle explosives around the capital. Our forces also guarded a UAE-financed hospital operated by UAE female doctors to extend medical care to Afghan women and children. The UAE also financed a Pashtu language radio station.
Development-oriented Diplomacy as a Powerful Engine
At the 6th meeting of the UAE ambassadors and heads of diplomatic missions abroad which was held under the auspices of His Highness Sheikh Abdulla bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and attended by more than 130 Foreign Ministry officials, the “development-oriented diplomacy” – a vital issue that attracted world attention in the recent years- was discussed. The meeting discussed how to energize the role of UAE ambassadors and heads of diplomatic missions abroad in strengthening economic and investment relations with the outside world in such a way as to boost UAE’s economic global status.
This policy soon paid off, as it took a two-way track by the UAE owning stakes in world corporations and economic sectors and attracting a large number of world investment corporations to carry out gigantic projects in the UAE. Diplomacy has benefitted from UAE’s world reputation, positive investment history and top status won over the past years.
UAE and South Korea: Emerging new trends
A high-level UAE delegation led by His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, participated in the Nuclear Security Summit which was hosted by South Korea last March. Two unmistakable observations were in play:
First: Deep appreciation for the UAE at top international events and interest to learn more about UAE’s views ons international issues. This was evident in the meetings His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, had with Presidents and heads of state.
Second: The Summit was a barometer to gauge UAE’s vigorous, shrewd, dynamic and outspoken diplomacy. In addition to the important meetings His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan had with many heads of states including the South Korean President Lee Myung-bak who highlighted the distinguished UAE-South Korea relations in all fields, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed’s statement cast light on UAE’s nuclear program to generate nuclear power for peaceful purposes, and affirmed UAE’s “pursuit of peace, security and stability in the Middle East and various parts of the world”.
The UAE has become a key participant in the identification of world priorities as far as the criteria of nuclear security are concerned, which was evident in the two initiatives made by His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan at Seoul Nuclear Security Summit. The first was for the UAE to host the Summit on behalf of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in October in 2013 on control strategies of radioactive materials throughout their life cycle. The second is UAE’s $ one million contribution to expand and upgrade the present laboratories which help IAEA identify nuclear materials and detect illegal, unauthorized nuclear installations.
By these initiatives the UAE confirms that any serious effort to encounter ongoing challenges requires practical steps to strengthen concerned international organizations as to perform their duties effectively for the goodness of mankind, and that the UAE is always ready to boost any effort, out of a firm belief in its responsibilities toward the world.His Highness Sheikh Mohammed’s statement was crystal clear and highly expressive, affirming that nuclear security dangers, including nuclear terror, threaten all countries. His Highness called for international cooperation to set up a global infrastructure manned with adequate human resources necessary to apply the highest nuclear security standard. His Highness highlighted IAEA’s pivotal role in this connection.
UAE and South Korea – A Model Partnership
In an article on 5 March, “Korea Times” said that South Korea’s interest in the economic opportunities in the UAE was meager many years ago, but certain events over the past few years have strengthened bilateral relations. It all began, the newspaper said, in 2009 when the UAE surprised global contenders by selecting a South Korean consortium led by Korea Electric Power Corp to build four nuclear power reactors by 2020. The two countries later signed an agreement to develop 3 oil fields that could produce 43,000 barrels of oil per day starting 2014. Moreover, the South Korean Minister of Knowledge Economy Suk Woo Hong made a statement in which he affirmed that UAE-South Korea strategic cooperation would outlive 100 years. The Korean Minister of Knowledge Economy Suk Woo Hong, also in charge of the power sector there, said the oil agreement would boost the two nations’ centenarian relationship which was set up following the 2009 nuclear energy agreement. He regarded the UAE and South Korea perfect partners because they complement each other. It can be said that the UAE-South Korea cooperation in peaceful nuclear technology is the cornerstone for bilateral strategic relations. UAE’s peaceful nuclear program is a global model for how to utilize nuclear energy for development. In December 2009 the UAE signed a number of agreements with South Korea to build four nuclear power stations worth $75 billion with a capacity of 1400 megawatt each by 2020. Power generation is scheduled to start in 2017. The third generation stations are extremely safe, and the power generation program is cost-effective.
Unprecedented Nuclear Transparency
To maintain a totally transparent peaceful nuclear program, the UAE’s Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) submitted 5 drafts of regulations to a public poll to express views within 30 days, a step seen necessary by FANR officials for a national security issue. The purpose was to build confidence in the program and highlight its peaceful purposes.
Program management transparency was originally highlighted in UAE’s public policy announced in April 2008 which offered guarantees for a peaceful program and for taking necessary security and safety procedures for all nuclear programs. Another transparency landmark was a draft law on peaceful nuclear energy which provided for important rules that define the responsibilities of authorized personnel and how to dispose of nuclear waste and spent fuel.
South Korean Reassuring Signs of Nuclear Safety
The timing of the earthquake that recently hit northeastern Japan and led to leaks in Fukushima power reactor could not be any worse for South Koreans. The disaster coincided with an official visit by the South Korean President Lee Myung-bak to the UAE to attend the ceremony to lay the foundation stone for the UAE nuclear stations South Korea has been contracted to build and manage. The deal opened the door wide open for Koreans to export peaceful nuclear technology to the outside world, thus overtaking the more experienced international competitors from the United States, Japan and France.
The safety issue brought about by the Fukushima disaster raised concerns for a similar scenario in the nations which have, or will have (like the UAE), the same nuclear technology. The South Koreans were worried about a possible change of heart, particularly in the Gulf region. The South Korean President Lee Myung-bak responded to these fears by affirming that South Korea’s power stations were much safer than Japan’s.
Why the UAE-South Korea Partnership is Vital
The UAE-South Korean cooperation in peaceful nuclear technology is exceptionally important, considering the fact that it is the first contract by an Arab nation to own modern, highly productive nuclear actors. The UAE-South Korea partnership is expected to have region wide repercussions in terms of selecting South Korea as a provider of nuclear energy technology. Many factors helped clinch the UAE deal in favour of South Korea. South Korean reactors are world renowned for safety as confirmed by performance record over the last decades. Moreover, the Korean provider is the third world corporation in nuclear power generation reactors, and runs more than 20 active stations and 18 stations currently underway where the highest, most sophisticated technical standards are followed, which makes South Korea a perfect partner with the UAE.
The UAE and South Korea are bound by strategic economic relations in various areas, especially joint investments in the power sector and trade exchange. The UAE is the most important regional market for Korean products, and Seoul has plans to secure 11 per cent - compared to 2.46 per cent at present - of local demand for power from renewable energy. It has allocated $ 891.2 million to finance renewable energy projects which include solar and wind power stations, training, education, construction, ship building, semi-conductors, information technology and communications. The two nations, moreover, pursue their traditional partnership in the power sector, with oil and gas included.
In addition, South Korea has plans to further cooperation with the UAE in other areas such as industry, small and medium-size businesses, bilateral trade and investment.
In March 2011 the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with South Korea’s Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) to develop a cooperative partnership between top think-tanks and business associates in the two nations. On 7 July 2011 GGGI opened a regional office for the Middle East and North Africa at Masdar City in Abu Dhabi.
Evolving Strategic Relationship with China
Observers agree that the successful official visit of His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, to Beijing last March has deepened the bilateral strategic partnership agreed upon during the Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao’s January visit to Abu Dhabi. The top-level meetings His Highness Sheikh Mohammed had with senior Chinese officials, and the warm reception accorded to His Highness and the accompanying delegation have paved the way for an exceptional UAE-China partnership in various areas. His Highness Sheikh Mohammed’s confirmation of UAE’s willingness to have a stronger relationship with China was reciprocated by the Chinese officials, notably the Prime Minister of the State Council, who expressed their deep appreciation of the UAE internal and external policies. It reflected a mutual desire to push bilateral relations forward.
It is worth mentioning that the visit to China by His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan took place during 27-29 March 2012 upon the invitation of Vice-President Xi Jinping with a view to accelerating bilateral relations. Certain factors were in play, notably expanded base of common interests, evolving opportunities of cooperation and mutual desire to boost peace and development at regional and international levels.
During his visit to Beijing His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan met with Vice-President Xi Jinping who is scheduled to hold presidency before the end of 2012. Talks focused on the means to boost energy and trade relations and cement strategic partnership. Vice-President Xi Jinping pointed out that the evolving relations between China and the UAE prove that respect and trust were indispensable for bilateral relations, that cooperation was a driving force, and that cultural exchange was essential. He added that the UAE, a pivotal member of the Arab League and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), had positive contributions to strengthening China’s relations with the Arabs and GCC states.
On his part, His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan expressed UAE’s appreciation of China’s vital role in international affairs, especially in the Middle East. He lauded bilateral relations saying that the UAE was looking forward to strengthening cooperation with China in various areas such as trade, energy, education, culture and regional causes. He described China-UAE relations as a wonderful example for bilateral cooperation.
During his official visit to China His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyanalso met Prime Minister Jiabao who affirmed that bilateral exchange and cooperation would usher in a new phase, referring to the strong friendship between the Chinese and UAE people.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed attended the ceremony of reopening the Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Arab Center for Arabic Language and Islamic Studies at Beijing Foreign Studies University (BFSU). Speaking on this occasion, BFSU Chairman Shaojing Yang said that more than 600 Chinese students have graduated from the Center since establishment to become messengers of friendship between the Arab and Chinese worlds. “The Center has become a launching pad for Chinese Arabic-speaking students, for spreading the Arabic language and Arab and Islamic culture in China, and for consolidating friendship and understanding between the Chinese and the Arabs” he pointed out.
Omar Al-Bitar, UAE Ambassador to China said the Center hosted a large number of prominent scholars and intelligentsia from all over the world, organized many symposia and conferences and published many studies and books which helped deepen cultural understanding between China and Arab and Islamic nations. He also announced a $1.12 million contribution by His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyanin support of Center’s educational activities.
South America – a New Hub for UAE Diplomacy
The UAE has diversified foreign trade over the past years under a carefully designed plan to diversify sources of national income. The new trend was introduced to enhance UAE economic status on the world trade map. Several tracks were followed:
First: Upgrade national products, boost competitiveness in the local market as a first step to maximize exports to international markets.
Second: Improve export conditions by diversifying import markets and entering into international agreements and partnerships to secure a regular, cost-effective flow of these imports.
Third: Create favorable conditions that would encourage joint government and private investments.
These tracks would require the UAE to sign international agreements and partnerships, organize and participate in world-level conferences, exhibitions and events, encourage officials to make round-the-clock international economic-oriented tours to pave the way for this ambitious policy. South America (SA) is one of UAE targets, considering SA’s huge economic potentials. Many are very optimistic and depend heavily on South America for a speedy world economy recovery.
Strange enough, UAE-SA trade exchange is stuck at $3.7 billion yearly, of which 90 per cent is accounted for by Brazil and Argentina. But this exchange- 2.5 per cent of total UAE foreign trade, however slim, puts the UAE as a top South American partner in the Gulf. Strenuous efforts are underway to energize UAE-SA economic and commercial relations.
UAE-India Relations – A Quality Development
Last April the UAE signed a customs cooperation agreement with India to lay criteria for technical and administrative cooperation between the two nations. The agreement is aimed to fight customs violations which undermine the national economy in the two nations, set appropriate regulations to ensure easy travel of passengers and commodities, apply rules for exchanging customs information to increase staff awareness through periodic training courses.
This agreement provides the basis for new vistas to the commercial and economic relations between the UAE and India by regulating the movement of passengers, commodities and investments, which will reflect positively on bilateral relations.
Generally speaking, the UAE and India maintain good relations. Trade exchange totaled $24 billion annually over the last decade, which is a huge positive development in bilateral relations.
It is known that the UAE is India’s top exporter and fourth importer, which makes the former the first commercial partner with India in the Gulf, accounting for 50 per cent of total Indian trade in the region. HSBC Bank estimates expect bilateral trade to touch $103.6 billion in 2025 – a target made closer by the recent agreement which is expected to stimulate the bilateral $ 21.7 billion worth of annual investments.