flag United Arab Emirates United Arab Emirates: Buying

In this page: Customs Procedures | Industrial and Manufacturing Profile | Identifying a Supplier | Controlling the Quality of the Products | Organizing Goods Transport To and From the United Arab Emirates


Customs Procedures

Export Clearance
United Arab Emirates Federal Customs Authority (FCA) is the official customs authority of Emirates. It should be verified with the competent customs that one has all the documents necessary for export. Exports to Israel are prohibited. If vehicles are re-exported, an authorisation is necessary from the police department. Before re-export, an inspection of goods is carried out by the customs. It enables the exporter to recover his deposit or guarantee.
Refer to Exportation part in chapter II of GCC Customs Law for more details.
Necessary Declaration
Here are the necessary documents:

  • A declaration of exports approved by a company having a license form an agency delivering licenses in the country (for goods transported by air).
  • Export Permit from a controlling authority (applicable only to restricted exports)
  • Export invoice issued by a company of the country with a license addressed to a foreign company and which states total quantities, as well as a detailed description of quantity and amount for each article.
  • Packing list: a detailed inventory with the quantities, names, standard codes and the method of packaging for each article.

See Dubai customs for further information.


Some Prohibited Items:

  • All kinds of narcotic drugs
  • Gambling tools, machineries and devices of all kinds
  • Nylon fishing nets
  • Live swine
  • Used, reconditioned and inlaid tires
  • Radiation and nuclear fallout contaminated substances
  • Items that contradict Islamic faith and public morals
  • Paan and betel leaves
  • Goods of Israeli origin
Export Taxes
There are no taxes on exports.

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Industrial and Manufacturing Profile

Industrial production has experienced unprecedented growth in the Emirates, and contributes 46.2% of the GDP today.

In Abu Dhabi, the dominant industries are petroleum and petrochemicals, gas processing, desalinisation of sea water and electricity production. In Dubai and Sharjah, the industrial production is more diversified, with petrochemical and chemical industry, metallurgy (aluminium), agribusiness, paper and textile industries. Ras el Khaimah has cement plants, marble works and a pharmaceutical plant. The light manufacturing industry is also developing.

Sector-specific professional associations

50 professional associations listed for the United Arab Emirates.

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Type of Manufacturers

Original Equipment Manufacturers
This type of industry is still less present in Emirates. Emirates is still quite specialised in the field of light industry.
Original Design Manufacturers
ODM are growing in Emirates especially in the field of large public equipment and informatics. Foxconn, Flextronics, Quanta dominate the market.
The development of the manufacturing sector is quite recent and the Emirates are not recognised as far as sub-contractors are concerned. Subcontracting is mainly reserved for the construction sector. Indian and Asian companies sub-contract certain work sites. It can however be expected that this trend will change given the important incentives to this sector from the government and the highly profitable conditions in the Free zones.
Useful Resources
Ministry of Finance

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Identifying a Supplier

UAE multisector Business directories

2FindLocal UAE - Business directory for the UAE

Abu Dhabi Online Commercial Directory - Business directory provided by the Abu Dhabi Chamber

Aiwa - Business directory for the UAE

All.biz - United Arab Emirates - Directory of companies in the United Arab Emirates

Angloinfo - Dubai business directory

ATN Info - Business pages in UAE

BizExposed UAE - Business directory for the UAE

Bloombiz UAE - Business directory for the UAE

Cybo UAE - Business directory for the UAE

Dubai Chamber Commercial Directory - Business directory for the UAE


To see 20 more, check out our Business Directories database.

UAE Marketplaces

Sample of marketplaces incorporated in the United Arab Emirates (A to Z)


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Upcoming Trade shows in the United Arab Emirates

June 14th, 2023
Communication, marketing, advertising - Marketing - Sponsorship - Incentive - Commercial property, patents, trademarks - Exhibitions, conferences - Products and services for weddings - Amusement parks, fairgrounds - Hotels, accommodation - Restaurants, home deliveries - Cafes, bars, nightclubs - Travel, exhibitions, incentives - Monuments, tourist attractions - Camping, resorts
June 19th, 2023
Painting, door and window frames, wall and floor coverings - Paints, glues, fertilisers, oils
August 1st, 2023
Transportation, logistics, handling - Freight
September 1st, 2023
Communication - Advertising - Sponsorship - Edition, graphic art, printing and reproduction - Edition, graphic art, printing and reproduction: unspecified - Graphic art, desktop publishing - Publishing - Printing, reproduction - Mail, stamps, cards - Iconography, various prints - Publication, arts: other
September 1st, 2023
Health, medicine - Medical professions - Paramedic - Hospital - Medical Equipment - Products and services for children - Products and services for seniors
September 1st, 2023
Naval construction, boating
September 1st, 2023
Furnishings, household equipment and arts - Household hardware - Automobiles, lorries - Automobile subcontracting, lorries - Industry service - Service Industry: unspecified - Outsourcing, hardware equipping - Maintenance - Cleaning, surveillance, protection - Recycling
September 1st, 2023
Insurance, mutual funds, pension funds - Banks - Investment funds, other financial institutions - Stock Exchange, investments - Financing, aid - Masonry, carpentry, pipework - Real estate - Furnishings - Household equipment
September 1st, 2023
Machine tools, agricultural machinery - Hardware, tools, accessories - Professional hardware - Home repairs, DIY
September 1st, 2023
Painting, door and window frames, wall and floor coverings - Sanitary equipment, kitchen, swimming pool - Machine tools, agricultural machinery - Hardware, tools, accessories - Professional hardware - Materials

To see 213 more, check out our Trade shows database

Other Useful Resources

Trade Agencies and Their Representations Abroad
Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Contact Your Commercial Representations in the United Arab Emirates
Contact the UAE Chambers.
Contact Dubai Chamber.
Contact Abu Dhabi Chamber.

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Controlling the Quality of the Products

Quality Control Organizations
Website of the UAE Authority for Standardisation and Metrology

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Organizing Goods Transport To and From the United Arab Emirates

Main Useful Means of Transport
Maritime transport remains the principal means to transport goods. 90% of freight inbound to the Emirates arrives as ocean freight, much of it carried in shipping containers. Dubai’s Jebel Ali is the most important ocean freight port in the UAE, and it is one of the world’s largest artificial harbour. The UAE has 12 commercial trading ports, other than oil ports. Overall, 61% of cargo destined for GCC states arrives via the UAE's seaports.
Air and land freight transport remains less important than maritime transport. Land transport is virtually non-existent.

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By Road

Transport Professionals
Directory of goods transport professionals
Government Transport Organisations
National Transport Authority

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By Rail

Government Transport Organisations
Etihad Rail

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Latest Update: June 2023