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

Type of Production
For the resources for businesses on managing the manufacturing and the supply chain risk due to the outbreak of the Covid19 pandemic, please consult the report COVID-19: Managing supply chain risk and disruption (Deloitte Canada, 2020), as well as the insights on COVID-19: How to fortify your supply chain (Kearney, 2020).
The World Economic Forum's COVID Action Platform provides useful information on the latest strategic trends regarding COVID-19 implications for businesses, including manufacturing and supply systems. The report Outbreak Readiness and Business Impact (World Economic Forum in collaboration with the Harvard Global Health Institute) offers insights on handling coronavirus by businesses and strategies for effective response and resilience.

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.

Associations of the Main Industry Sectors
52 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

Business Directories

Multi-sector Directories
Abu Dhabi Online Commercial Directory - Business directory provided by the Abu Dhabi Chamber
All Dubai - Comprehensive business online directory for all the United Arab Emirates
All.biz - United Arab Emirates - Directory of companies in the United Arab Emirates
Angloinfo - Dubai business directory
Eyoon - Business directory for several countries in Africa and in the Middle East
UAE Business Directory - Kompass
UAE Business Directory - Business directory in the United Arab Emirates.
UAE Business Directory - UAE business directory
UAEFreeZones.com - Free zones directory in the UAE
Yalwa - Abu Dhabi business directory
Yellow Pages - Business directory in UAE.

To search directories by industry in the United Arab Emirates, check out our service Business Directories.


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Marketplaces in the country

To go further, check out our service Online Marketplaces.

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Other Useful Resources

Trade Agencies and Their Representations Abroad
Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Federation of UAE Chambers of Commerce and Industry
Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Federation of the UAE Chambers of Commerce
Contact Your Commercial Representations in the United Arab Emirates
Contact the UAE Chambers.
Contact Dubai Chamber.
Contact Abu Dhabi Chamber.
Fairs and Trade Shows
Website giving access to fairs and shows

To go further, check out our service Trade Shows.

Learn more about Service Providers in the United Arab Emirates on Globaltrade.net, the Directory for International Trade Service Providers.

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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: May 2022