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Middle East & North Africa Comunication

UAE – Ready to become a maritime logistic hub between East and West. Italy privileged partner.

UAE – Ready to become a maritime logistic hub between East and West. Italy privileged partner.

The international trade relations of our country are strongly linked to maritime transport. The data indicate, in fact, that the traffic of goods between Italy and the Mediterranean countries occurs for the 76% by vessel. Overall the ship traffic of goods in the Mediterranean has more than doubled over the past 13 years and accounts for 19% of world traffic of goods.

All the countries of the Med area are pursuing important political development of their port system, given that this will represent a key element for the economy and the development of certain areas. Among others (Morocco with Tanger Med, Egypt, with the expansion of the Suez Canal), the United Arab Emirates hold a logistics system that bases its foundations on major ports, Dubai at the top, providers of terminal container and also international containers carriers which through international alliances will cover routes throughout the way of world trade, increasing the connection degree of the Gulf.

The ability of the Emirates to establish a maritime cluster of excellence with Dubai as a port of access from and to the Gulf will intercept new traffic and create new routes, including the development of Free zone areas at the edge to the main ports and throughout the entire area.

To date, the Free zones of the country are 36 and serve as important points of attraction for foreign investment. The Free zones are the catalysts of businesses in all sectors forasmuch as they can benefit from a bureaucratic system not very hostile, from tax and custom facilitations for the businesses and from available areas at low cost with licenses and permits to be obtained with streamlined procedures. The strategic value of the economic axis Suez-Mediterranean-Gulf-Far East is becoming increasingly important.

In particular the United Arab Emirates position themselves as hub for their activities of re-exports, 46.3% of imports is processed and re-exported. The main trading partners are India, Japan and China; Italy is one of the leading European partners along with Germany and the UK.

Focusing on the Italian business in the UAE some interesting data:

  • in 2014 the value of bilateral trade between the two countries was $ 7.9 billion, 90% accounted for by exports from Italy to the UAE;
  • the leading export sectors for Italy are the mechanical and precious metals. The total value of exports of Italian products Made in Italy (food, furniture and appliances, fashion system, products and building materials, jewellery) scored 2.878 billion dollars;
  • among the OECD countries, Italy is in fifth place in terms of foreign direct investment in the UAE after the UK, France, Switzerland and the United States;
  • There are about 330 Italian companies located in the Free zones which have a turnover of over US $ 650 million; approx. 400 the German companies;
  • 33 Italian companies are participated by Emirati assets.


Source: SRM – Il business italiano negli Emirati Arabi Uniti, 2015