UAE emerges as largest export market for US products in GCC
Rushika Bhatia

UAE emerges as largest export market for US products in GCC

The UAE has replaced Saudi Arabia as the largest GCC market for US exports last year, the latest study by Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry has revealed.

US exports to the UAE reached a total of USD 11.64 billion in 2010, compared to USD 11.59 billion to Saudi Arabia, the study found. Meanwhile, US exports to Qatar valued USD 3.2 billion, to Kuwait USD 2.8 billion, to Bahrain USD 1.2 billion and to Oman USD 1.1 billion.

The study, quoting the US Census Bureau, further revealed that US trade with GCC countries increased during 2010 by 21%, as US demand for oil rose with the economic recovery. Previously, US trade with the GCC grew by 40% in 2008, before falling by 42% a year after. Meanwhile, the data on US trade with the world in 2010 showed a growth pattern of 22% to a total value of USD 3.2 trillion.

Resurgence of imports of crude mineral fuel contributed significantly to the increase in US trade with the GCC in 2010, with these products accounting for 92% of US imports from the region.

Machinery and transport equipment top US exports to GCC

Exports to the GCC accounted for 2.5% of US exports to the world in 2010. Although more varied than imports in terms of content, machinery and transport equipment accounted for about two-thirds of the total value of exports to the GCC, with a total value of USD 20.8 billion. The value was equivalent to 4% of US exports of the products to the world. This trend was expected as the region bounced back from the decline in expenditures on household and industrial durables in 2009.

The largest market for machinery products in the GCC was Saudi Arabia, which was the destination of 38% of the total value followed by the UAE with 33%; Qatar, 12%; Kuwait, 9%; Bahrain, 4%; and Oman, 3%. However, the type of products comprising export shipments varied according to the destination country. While shipments to Saudi Arabia were mainly private cars and other road transport equipment, shipments to the UAE and Qatar were dominated by aircrafts.

US exports to the GCC of general industrial machinery, equipment and parts, with a total value of US$ 2.3 billion, were primarily destined for Saudi Arabia (44%) and the UAE (32%), while power generating machinery and equipment were primarily destined for Saudi Arabia (35%) and Kuwait (32%), with the UAE getting only 18% of the total value shipped to the region.

UAE was the largest market for most of the other exports

According to the study, exports of food and live animals to the GCC amounted to USD 1.7 billion, representing 2% of total US exports of products. The largest market in the GCC was the UAE, with 47% of the total value of goods exported to the region, followed by Saudi Arabia, with 39%; and Kuwait with 8%. Exports to the other member countries were about 2% each.

US exports of miscellaneous manufactured articles to the GCC amounted to USD 3.1 billion, representing more than 2% of US world exports of these products. Included in the group are manufactured personal and household goods and scientific instruments and laboratory and hospital instruments. A major part of the total exports (43%) was destined for the UAE, with 31% going to Saudi Arabia; 9% to both Qatar and Kuwait, 3% to Bahrain, and 2% to Oman.

The UAE was also the largest GCC market for US exports of manufactured goods classified chiefly by materials. Exports of this type amounted to 47% of the total GCC exports and were valued at US$ 1.8 billion. Saudi Arabia followed, with a share of 31%; Kuwait, 10%; Qatar, 7%; Oman, 3%; and Bahrain, 1%. Included in the group were metal manufactures and nonmetallic mineral products.

Machinery and equipment and other products shipped from the US for use in projects in the UAE made it the largest market in the region for other commodities and transactions not classified. The country had a share of 43% of the total export value of USD 1.1 billion. Saudi Arabia had a share of 27%, while Bahrain had a share of 13%.

On the other hand, Saudi Arabia was the largest GCC export market of US chemicals and related products. Of the total exports of this kind for the GCC, which were valued at USD 2.3 billion, 42% were destined to the kingdom, while 37% were exported to the UAE.

Present trend expected to continue

The study informed that US presence in the Gulf is expected to continue to be substantial, exporting into the region not only goods, but services as well. With highly developed production technology and a high level of industrial specialization, the US is expected to continue to dominate world trade for highly specialised products and services. In the GCC, US technology in the oil industry is expected to remain in high demand in the coming years.