Overview

The transformation of Dubai from dusty desert town to sparkling, affluent metropolis has been underway for the past 40 years and it is really in the last 10 years that the pace of development and change has really begun to show. Dubai has gone from being a location where only people desperate enough for hardship allowances moved to work, to a stunning city where a hedonistic lifestyle can be enjoyed by almost everyone.

Since a very long time, Dubai has occupied an outstanding position on the trade map of this region. It has always been a flourishing business centre, and its Creek has played a major role in the economic development achieved by this city. The Creek has constantly been an important and a safe harbor for small and medium size ships which sail to the ports of the Arabian Gulf region, the countries of the Indian subcontinent and East Africa, loaded with different goods which are re-exported to these various regions.

History

Originally a small fishing settlement, Dubai was taken over in about 1830 by a branch of the Bani Yas tribe from the Liwa oasis led by the Maktoum family who still rule the emirate today.

Traditional activities included herding sheep and goats, cultivating dates, fishing and pearling, but the inhabitants built up trade too. By the turn of the century, Dubai was reputed to have the largest souks on the Gulf coast, with 350 shops in the Deira district alone.

Commercial success allied to the liberal attitudes of Dubai's rulers, made the emirate attractive to traders from India and Iran, who began to settle in the growing town. But, while trade developed, Dubai remained politically a protectorate of Britain as part of the Trucial States extending along the northern coast of the Arabian Peninsula.

Dubai International Airport voted Best in Middle East second best in the world

On the British withdrawal in 1971, Dubai came together with Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Fujairah and (in 1972) Ras Al Khaimah to create the federation of the United Arab Emirates.

This was shortly after the discovery of oil in 1966, which was soon to transform the emirate and its way of life. Dubai's first oil exports in 1969 were followed by a period of rapid development that laid the foundations for today's modern society. Much of the credit for this development can be traced to the vision of the late Ruler, HH Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, who ensured that Dubai's oil revenues, despite being relatively modest by the standards of the region, were deployed to maximum effect.

His work has been continued by the present Ruler, HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and his brothers. The result is that Dubai is constantly building up its infrastructure of transport facilities, schools, hospitals, tourism developments and other amenities of an advanced society.

Climate

The UAE has a sub-tropical, arid climate. Rainfall is infrequent and irregular. Falling mainly in winter, it amounts to some 13 centimeters a year.

Temperatures range from a low of about 10 degrees Celsius to a high of 48 degrees Celsius. The mean daily maximum is 24 degrees in January rising to 41 degrees in July.

Languages

The official language is Arabic. English is widely understood and ranks alongside Arabic as the language of commerce.

Geography

Dubai Map

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) comprises seven members: Abu Dhabi (the capital city), Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah.

The total area of the country is about 83,600 square kilometers, much of it in Abu Dhabi emirate. Dubai, with an area of 3,885 square kilometers, is the second largest emirate.

Situated on the banks of the Dubai Creek, a natural inlet from the Gulf, which divides the city into the Deira district to its north, and Bur Dubai on its south, the city ranks as the UAE's most important port and commercial centre.

The UAE has 700 kilometers of coastline, of which 100 kilometers are on the Gulf of Oman. Along the Arabian Gulf coast, there are offshore islands, coral reefs and sabkha, or salt marshes. Stretches of gravel plain and sandy desert characterize the inland region.

To the east, a range of mountains lies close to the Gulf of Oman and forms a backbone through the Mussandam Peninsula. The western interior of the country, most of it in Abu Dhabi, consists mainly of desert interspersed with oases

Dubai presents international business with a wide range of opportunities for different activities and operations, including:

  • Trade.
  • Transport and distribution.
  • Manufacturing and processing.
  • Regional offices.

Dubai Advantage

Dubai is distinguished as one of the trade centers in the Arabian Gulf region. It has acquired this position for several reasons which can be summarized as follows:

Burj al Arab

Firstly: It occupies a strategic competitive location in the middle of the U.A.E. coast stretching along 400 miles. Its distinct location in the south - western part of the Arabian Gulf enabled it to play an active trading role in linking the maritime lines on one hand, and facilitating transportation of goods between the East and the West on the other hand. burg al arab

Secondly: Dubai has strengthened its distinguished strategic location by pursuing a free and balanced economic policy that has given it a good reputation in the international, commercial and economic communities, which encouraged national and foreign capitals to enter into successful investment ventures in different commercial, industrial and services fields.

Thirdly: Dubai has boosted the importance of its strategic location and emphasized its free economic policy by setting up complete infrastructural projects along with other services and utilities. Dubai has put in operation these facilities with high efficiency which had an immediate and positive impact on growth rates in the economic sectors, social development and improving living standards of the individual.

The Market

As the leading regional trading hub, Dubai offers access to a market of outstanding potential for overseas companies in a wide range of sectors. Among its key characteristics are:

  • A large market - more than $17 billion in domestic imports annually; gateway to a $150 billion p.a., 1.4 billion population regional import market;
  • A growing market - Dubai's imports have more than doubled since 1989; regional economic growth and liberalization is set to boost demand;
  • A prosperous market - strategic location at the heart of one of the world's richest regions;
  • A diversified market - wide import requirements; opportunities for suppliers of most products; An accessible market - served by more than 170 shipping lines and 86 airlines; An open market - no exchange controls, quotas or trade barriers.

The Business Environment

Emirates Tower

Dubai offers incoming business all the advantages of a highly developed economy. Its infrastructure and services match the highest international standards, facilitating efficiency, quality and service. Among the benefits are:

  • emirates towers Free enterprise system.
  • Highly developed transport infrastructure.
  • State-of-the-art telecommunications.
  • Sophisticated financial and services sector.
  • Top international exhibition and conference venue.
  • High quality office and residential accommodation.
  • Reliable power, utilities etc.
  • First class hotels, hospitals, schools, shop
  • Cosmopolitan lifestyle

Since a very long time, Dubai has occupied an outstanding position on the trade map of this region. It has always been a flourishing business centre, and its Creek has played a major role in the economic development achieved by this city. The Creek has constantly been an important and a safe harbor for small and medium size ships which sail to the ports of the Arabian Gulf region, the countries of the Indian subcontinent and East Africa, loaded with different goods which are re-exported to these various regions.

Business Activities in Dubai

Dubai is distinguished as one of the trade centers in the Arabian Gulf region. It has acquired this position for several reasons which can be summarized as follows:

Firstly: It occupies a strategic competitive location in the middle of the U.A.E. coast stretching along 400 miles. Its distinct location in the south - western part of the Arabian Gulf enabled it to play an active trading role in linking the maritime lines on one hand, and facilitating transportation of goods between the East and the West on the other hand.

Secondly: Dubai has strengthened its distinguished strategic location by pursuing a free and balanced economic policy that has given it a good reputation in the international, commercial and economic communities, which encouraged national and foreign capitals to enter into successful investment ventures in different commercial, industrial and services fields.

Thirdly: Dubai has boosted the importance of its strategic location and emphasized its free economic policy by setting up complete infrastructural projects along with other services and utilities. Dubai has put in operation these facilities with high efficiency which had an immediate and positive impact on growth rates in the economic sectors, social development and improving living standards of the individual.

Burj Dubai

In general, the economy of the Emirate of Dubai is based on two main activities which are non-oil trade and oil producing and exporting. Dubai has witnessed, during the last three decades, rapid growth of its trade and industrial activities taking advantage of its several characteristics including its strategic location over-looking the Arabian Gulf, the completion of its infrastructural projects and the running of these facilities according to the latest standards. This has enabled Dubai to become one of the most important centers for imports, exports, and re-exports in the region. During the last two decades Dubai has worked to strengthen its industrial base with the aim of diversifying the sources of income. Therefore, it has established heavy industrial projects in the Jebel Ali Free Zone, and the active private sector has contributed to setting up medium and small manufacturing industries achieving a kind of self sufficiency in some commodities, and even in certain commodities local needs are exceeded and the surplus is exported to overseas markets.

During 1999, Dubai imported from 171 countries all over the world. Most of Dubai imports originated from the United States of America, Japan, China, United Kingdom, Germany, South Korea, India, Italy, France and Taiwan. The total share of these countries represented 71% of Dubai's imports.

C. Nature of Re-exported Commodities and their Geographical Distribution

Over its long commercial history, Dubai has been well known as an active centre for re-export trade to the neighboring Gulf countries. Dubai's re-exports have gone beyond that to reach the Indian subcontinent and the Eastern coasts of Africa. Dubai has recently been able to invest its own abilities and take advantage of its several diversified facilities to expand its re-export activities to cover all the Gulf and Arab countries and countries of Asia, Europe, America and some African states, re-exporting about 30% of its annual total imports.

The re-export trade in Dubai plays an important role in its foreign trade as its share amounted to 70% of the U.A.E. total re-exports in 1999, excluding the goods re-exported from the Jebel Ali Free Zone which were worth Dhs. 15,031 million.

Destinations of Dubai re-exports totaled 167countries, most important of them are Iran, India, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Turkey, Algeria and Turkmenistan. The total value of goods re-exported to these countries amounted to Dhs. 6,830 million or 44% of the value of re-exported goods. The value of re-exports to the AGCC countries amounted to about Dhs. 2,500 million or 15% of the re-exports value.