Increasing competitiveness and productivity are two of the main objectives in marketing, which can be achieved only in the presence of specific market conditions, among which the most important is that of free exchange.
In the United Arab Emirates, an opinion shared and upheld as much by the legislator as by the businessman is that the barriers represented by high tariffs and technical difficulties can only produce a private sector which is stagnant and inefficient.
On the basis of these principles, the UAE have underwritten a series of commercial agreements (free trade agreements – FTA) and initiated a number of negotiations, both directly and through the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council). In effect, bilateral agreements are already in place with Syria, Jordan, the Lebanon, Morocco and Iraq, which guarantee preferential access to specific product categories.
With regard to the European Union, on the other hand, the agreement, which is in its completion phase, foresees access to the market of industrial and agricultural products, commercial services, intellectual properties, rules of origin (aimed at fighting dumping, or rather, export and sale below cost, and increasing denomination of origin), state provisioning, and legal, institutional and investment solutions. It is forecast that this agreement will be capable of at least doubling the present turnover of 40 billion Euros.
Looking, on the other hand, towards the other side of the world, negotiations between the United States of America and the UAE with a view to reaching a cumulative commercial agreement have been underway for some time. What is more, the Arab Emirates represent for the USA their third commercial partner in the Middle Eastern area. Also, further away in Australia and in New Zealand, negotiation meetings aimed at fruitful commercial agreements have already begun.
Strenuous proponents of the elimination of trade barriers and sustainers of strong international commercial ties, the United Arab Emirates, together with all of the member states of the GCC, have undersigned GAFTA (Greater Arab Free Trade Area) thanks to which more than 400 food and pharmaceutical products are customs exempt, or rather, not subject to the payment of customs duties.
With the exception of oil, gas and petrochemical products, the principal exportation centres in the UAE territory are free zones which guarantee logistic, administrative and financial advantages for companies engaged in exportation and re-exportation. These are areas which are exempt from obligations of license, of agency and of national majority proprietorship which, on the other hand, are applied in the internal economy.
In general, around 70% of UAE commerce passes through Dubai, where the average annual increase in the sector is equal, on average, to 30%. Naturally, to speak of commerce means speaking also of tourism. For years, in effect, the turnover for travel and stays has overtaken the pre-eminence of oil, just as the economic policy of the country has been engaged to do since its foundation in 1971.
Alongside the economic capital, also the political capital, Abu Dhabi, has by now discovered its considerable vocation for tourism (leisure and conference), investing ever more in this sector and demonstrating great planning capacity and creating a strong trend also in the other five Emirates, which are smaller in dimension, but which have, each on its own account, strong tourism appeal. All of this takes place from the point of view of the two cardinal principles of the commercial strategies of the UAE already mentioned: competitiveness and productivity.
Photograph provided courtesy of Dubai’s DTCM
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