In 2003, the UAE produced about 2.3 million barrels of oil per day--of which Abu Dhabi produced approximately 85%--with Dubai, and Sharjah to a much lesser extent, producing the rest.
Major increases in imports occurred in manufactured goods, machinery, and transportation equipment, which together accounted for 70% of total imports. Another important foreign exchange earner, the Abu Dhabi investment authority--which controls the investments of Abu Dhabi, the wealthiest emirate--manages an estimated $150 billion in overseas investments.
More than 200 factories operate at the Jebel Ali complex in Dubai, which includes a deep-water port and a free trade zone for manufacturing and distribution in which all goods for re-export or transshipment enjoy a 100% duty exemption. A major power plant with associated water desalination units, an aluminum smelter, and a steel fabrication unit are prominent facilities in the complex.
Except in the free trade zone, the UAE requires at least 51% local citizen ownership in all businesses operating in the country as part of its attempt to place Emiratis into leadership positions.
As a member of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the UAE participates in the wide range of GCC activities that focus on economic issues. These include regular consultations and development of common policies covering trade, investment, banking and finance, transportation, telecommunications, and other technical areas, including protection of intellectual property rights.
Economy - overview: The UAE has an open economy with a high per capita income and a sizable annual trade surplus. Its wealth is based on oil and gas output (about 33% of GDP), and the fortunes of the economy fluctuate with the prices of those commodities. Since 1973, the UAE has undergone a profound transformation from an impoverished region of small desert principalities to a modern state with a high standard of living. At present levels of production, oil and gas reserves should last for over 100 years. Despite higher oil revenues in 1999, the government has not drawn back from the economic reforms implemented during the 1998 oil price depression. The government has increased spending on job creation and infrastructure expansion and is opening up its utilities to greater private-sector involvement.
Expatriates from India and Pakistan perform a significant role in the local economy. However, to control illegal immigration into the country, on November 9, 2002, the UAE immigration ministry announced that all Indians visiting the country must have a return ticket.
GDP: purchasing power parity - $41.5 billion (1999 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 2.5% (1999 est.)
GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $17,700 (1999 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
services: 45% (1996 est.)
Population below poverty line: NA%
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 4% (1999 est.)
1.38 million (1998 est.)
note: 75% of the population in the 15-64 age group is non-national (July 1998 est.)
Labor force - by occupation: services 60%, industry 32%, agriculture 8% (1996 est.)
Unemployment rate: NA%
revenues: $5.5 billion
expenditures: $6.2 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (1999 est.)
Industries: petroleum, fishing, petrochemicals, construction materials, some boat building, handicrafts, pearling
Industrial production growth rate: 0% (1997 est.)
Electricity - production: 20.11 billion kWh (1998)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 100%
other: 0% (1998)
Electricity - consumption: 18.702 billion kWh (1998)
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (1998)
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (1998)
Agriculture - products: dates, vegetables, watermelons; poultry, eggs, dairy products; fish
Exports: $34 billion (f.o.b., 1999 est.)
Exports - commodities: crude oil 45%, natural gas, reexports, dried fish, dates
Exports - partners: Japan 30%, South Korea 10%, India 6%, Singapore 4.5%, Oman 3%, Iran (1998)
Imports: $27.5 billion (f.o.b., 1999 est.)
Imports - commodities: machinery and transport equipment, chemicals, food
Imports - partners: US 10%, Japan 9%, UK 9%, Germany 6%, South Korea 5%, Italy (1998)
Debt - external: $15.5 billion (1998 est.)
Economic aid - recipient: $NA
Currency: 1 Emirian dirham (Dh) = 100 fils
Exchange rates: Emirian dirhams (Dh) per US$1 - central bank mid-point rate: 3.6725 (from 1998); 3.6711 (1997), 3.6710 (1995-96)
Fiscal year: calendar year