UAE is our first Arab trade partner with $10 billion: Russian minister - GulfToday

UAE is our first Arab trade partner with $10 billion: Russian minister


Sergey Lavrov addresses students of the Moscow State University for Foreign Relations in Moscow, on Friday Associated Press

Gulf Today Report/ Agencies

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov praised the volume of trade exchange between Russia and the UAE, which reached $10 billion and is on its way to increasing, reiterating his welcome of the UAE joining the BRICS group.

Sergey Lavrov said during a speech he delivered at the Moscow Institute of International Relations on the occasion of the start of the academic year in Russia, “The UAE is Russia’s first partner among the countries of the Arab world, as trade exchange between the two countries has reached $10 billion and is heading toward an increase,” according to Russian media.

He added, “The success of relations between Russia and the UAE lies in the two countries starting from their national interests and rejecting pressures that might lead them to sacrifice their interests and prevent the development of their economies.”

The Russian Foreign Minister pointed to the promising future of the partnership between Russian and Emirati universities, especially between the Moscow Institute of International Relations and the Emirati institutes.

According to recent data from the UAE’s Ministry of Economy the country’s imports from the Russian Federation for 2022 amounted to about Dhs30.1 billion, while the value of re-exports amounted to Dhs9 billion, and national exports amounted to one billion dirhams.

Gold came as the most traded commodity between the two parties with Dhs20 billion, then diamonds with Dhs6.1 billion, phones with Dhs5.5 billion, processed machinery with one billion dirhams, petroleum oils with one billion dirhams.

In February this year, Denis Manturov, Russia’s Industry and Trade Minister, has said that Russia’s trade turnover with the UAE increased by 68% to $9 billion in 2022. He was speaking at the IDEX 2023 exhibition in Abu Dhabi.

Manturov stated that “The partnership between our countries is on the rise, and this positive trend is reflected in the statistics of Russian-UAE trade. According to our data, in 2022, trade between Russia and the UAE increased by 68% and reached $9 billion. This is a record level in the history of relations between our countries. The UAE has retained its first place among the countries of the Arab world in terms of trade with Russia.”

Breaking these trade statistics down further, Thani Bin Ahmed Al-Zeyoudi, the UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade had previously stated in December 2022 that the non-oil trade between the UAE and Russia increased by 57% during the first nine months of the year and had reached $5.5 billion. Compounded over the full 12 months of 2022, this would imply that the bulk of UAE-Russia trade is non-oil and amounts to $7.3 billion of the $9 billion total.

Russia is one of the largest diamond producers in the world, and the UAE one of the world’s largest diamond polishing hubs for gems to be sold onto the international jewelry market. Russia also exports services in terms of transport and IT, while energy accounts for a smaller percentage of trade.

The UAE exports shisha tobacco products, broadcasting equipment and some aviation parts.

The UAE is Russia’s largest Gulf trading partner, accounting for 55% of the total Russian-Gulf trade, with the UAE accounting for 90% of Moscow’s total investments in the Arab countries. The UAE hosts more than 4,000 Russian companies, while Abu Dhabi owns 60 projects in Russia.

Al-Zeyoudi had mentioned in December that he had met with Rustam Minnikhanov, the President of Tatarstan, one of the most industrialised Russian republics, to discuss ways to stimulate cooperation to broaden horizons. Tartarstan has been active in the Middle East with trade offices also opening in Iran and Turkmenistan.

The UAE’s Ministry of Economy revealed recently that the UAE’s non-oil foreign trade reached a record Dhs1.239 trillion in H1 2023, representing a growth of 14.4 percent compared to the same period in 2022 – and 3 per cent more than H2 2022.

The figures underline the continued upward trajectory of the nation’s foreign trade, which has achieved quarter-on-quarter growth since 2020.

The unprecedented figures are buoyed by record non-oil exports, which reached Dhs205 billion in H1 2023, an 11.9 per cent growth compared to the first half of 2022 and 5.4 percent more than H2 2022. Importantly, non-oil exports in the first six months of 2023 exceed the exports recorded in the whole of 2017. The contribution of non-oil exports to the UAE’s total foreign trade was 16.6 per cent in H1 2023, compared to its estimated share of 14.2 per cent during the same period in 2019.

Re-exports and imports also recorded significant growth. The total value of UAE’s re-exports reached Dhs341 billion during the first half of 2023, a 9.9 per cent growth on H1 2022, and 2.2 percent compared to the second half of 2022. Imports increased to Dhs693 billion, up 17.5 percent compared to the first half of 2022 and 2.6 per cent more than the second half of 2022.

China has retained its position as the UAE’s leading global trading partner, followed by India, the US and Saudi Arabia. Turkey, with whom the UAE signed a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement in March, came in fifth place, with Iraq, Switzerland, Japan, Hong Kong, and Russia completing the top 10. Overall, the UAE’s top ten trading partners witnessed a sizeable increase in non-oil trade, with a combined growth of 16.7 percent, while the rest of the markets accounted for 12.4 percent growth.

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