Free Trade Agreements of UAE
The United Arab Emirates joined the World Trade Organisation in 1996 and became an active member by participating in various trade negotiations and fulfilling many of its obligations.
By joining trade agreements, the United Arab Emirates aims at developing the level of trade and economic cooperation in accordance with the laws prevailing in each country and diversifying sources of economy and sustainable development.
GCC Commercial Agreement
The GCC countries signed an economic agreement on December 31, 2001 and were implemented on 1 January 2003.
The agreement tackles, mainly:
- Commercial exchange.
- Economic and cash unification.
- Human resources development.
- Transport, communications and basic structure.
- Common Gulf market.
- Development integration.
- Fields of Scientific and technological research.
- Machinery and execution and follow up.
- The Convention has established a set of disciplines that contribute to enhancing the competitiveness of Member states in international markets, such as:
- Adopting complementary economic and development policies among GCC states.
- Adopting a unified customs tariff for non-GCC countries and unified customs regulations and procedures.
- Standardising import and export procedures and systems.
- Treating citizens of GCC countries, individuals and institutions, a national treatment with all economic benefits, including residence, business, social insurance and other benefits.
For more information, please click here to view the agreement.
Greater Arab Free Trade Area (GAFTA)
On 19 February 1997, the Arab League Economic and Social Council issued a resolution establishing a Free Trade Area between the Arab States in accordance with a timetable to be implemented from 1 January 1998.
The agreement represents an important step towards creating an economic block that competes effectively with other countries and promotes trade among Member states.
The Arab States members of the agreement are United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia and Yemen.
The member states enjoy a series of privileges, the most important of which is the complete exemption of commodities produced by Member states from customs duties and non-tariff restrictions on imports. The exempted commodities include:
- agricultural and animal products.
- mineral and non-metallic raw materials.
- semi-finished commodities included in the lists approved by the Council, which are used in the production of industrial commodities.
- commodities agreed upon under the approved lists of the Council.
- commodities produced by the joint Arab projects established under the League of Arab States or Arab organisations operating within its scope.
- Additionally, the agreement provides some Arab countries, such as the least developed countries, the State of Palestine and the State of Lebanon, with special exemptions and special treatment for their products.
GCC-EFTA Free Trade Agreement
The GCC and the EFTA countries signed a free trade agreement in the Norwegian city of Hammer on June 22, 2009. The chapters of the agreement tackles trade in goods and services, e-commerce, competition law, intellectual property, participation in government procurement, disputes settlement.
The member states of the agreement are the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. They enjoy a range of
privileges, which includes:
- Exemption of industrial goods, fish and marine products exported to the EFTA countries from all customs duties.
- Exemption of most imported goods from EFTA countries from customs duties.
- Reciprocal tariff exemptions in processed agricultural commodities.
- Treatment of service providers by Member states as national service providers.
- Enhanced cooperation and exchange of information in e-commerce.
- Adoption of legislation aimed at eliminating non-competitive practices.
For more information, please view the agreement.
GCC Singapore Agreement Free Trade Agreement (GSFTA)
GCC states signed a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the Republic of Singapore on December 15, 2008 for free trade in goods and services and to expand the scope of free trade in the government procurement markets of the member states on a reciprocal basis.
The agreement tackles aspects of trade in goods, rules of origin, customs procedures, trade in services and government procurement. The industries benefiting the most from this agreement are Petrochemicals, jewelery, machinery, iron and aluminium.
The Member States of the agreement enjoy a range of privileges:
- Exemption of GCC exports to Singapore from all customs duties.
- Exempting 99% of Singapore's exports to the GCC countries from customs duties.
- Preferential tariff treatment.
GCC states benefit from advantages in service sectors such as communication services, contracting and related engineering services, distribution services, education services, environmental services, financial services, health services and related social services, tourism services, sports, cultural and recreational services Transportation.
For more information, please view the agreement.
The United Arab Emirates has entered into an information technology goods agreement in 2007. The agreement is between 78 members and aims at reducing and exempting the information technology goods covered by the agreement from customs duties and taxes.
The goods covered by the agreement are:
- Computers: printers, scanners, computer monitors, hard drives, power supplies, and other computer components.
- Communication equipment: communication equipment, fax machines, modem, pagers and other communications equipment.
- Semiconductors: chips and other components, semiconductor equipment and hardware manufacturing software such as hard drives.
- CDs and scientific equipment related to these products.
Advisory Committee on Free Trade Agreements
Abu Dhabi has formed an Advisory Committee on Free Trade Agreements to help the Emirate identify opportunities for its strategic goods that can be exported to international markets.
The committee is tasked with the following:
- Takes effective steps to open up international markets for national products.
- Lift trade barriers between Abu Dhabi and the countries that are negotiating free trade agreements with the UAE in order to facilitate the export of goods and services to these markets.
- Specify the negotiating position of Abu Dhabi Emirate in trade-related negotiations by identifying goods that come under free trade agreements.
- Prepare a list of products with export potentials and enhance their competitiveness.
- Identify the sectors where foreign service providers can be allowed to provide services in the local market including transportation, telecommunications, financial services, tourism and consulting, among others.
Ministry of Economy