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PAK-UAE: A Strategic Partner

Mehmood-Ul-Hassan Khan

United Arab Emirates (UAE) is our strategic partner. Pakistan and the UAE enjoy cordial and harmonious relations marked by mutual respect. UAE is one of the biggest investors and trading destination of us. We receive highest inflows of foreign remittance from the UAE send by Pakistanis which is producing substantial support to our macro-economy.
Preferred Commodities
UAE Details of Commodities
Exports Petroleum, petrochemical products, iron ore, scrap-plastics, chemical products, non-ferrous metals-machines, spare parts of cars, ships and boats.
Imports Nylon textiles, silk and wool, rice, cotton, crochet-dye, textile-treatment requirements of fabrics and clothes, towels, marble and surgical instruments.
Most recently, the UAE celebrates its 40th National Day with zeal and promise to excel beyond other expectations. The Pak-UAE bilateral relations have already been strengthened by the wise leadership of both the countries. It has gained momentum in all sphere of life not confined to politics, economics, civility and social engagements. The recently held 10th UAE-Pakistan Joint Ministerial Commission (JMC) and the Magnificent 7 UAE Expo have further strengthened our economic ties and prospects of joint ventures in the days to come.
Since 1971, UAE has been achieving new skies and standards in terms of human service, socio-economic prosperity, tolerance and interfaith harmony. Wise leadership played a decisive role in transforming the UAE into the hub investments, innovations, re-exports, tourism, and green energies. Being our strategic partner, UAE has already made substantial investments in the fields of banking, energy, real estate, steel, infrastructure and agro-based industries. It is hoped that inflows of bilateral trade would be enhanced due to greater people-to-people contacts in the days to come.
Country Preferred areas of investments
UAE Energy, construction, telecommunication, oil and gas exploration, insurance, banking, aviation, food packaging, hotels and agricultural equipment.

UAE Investments ($ million)

Year/Period Amount
2000-01 5.2
2001-02 21.5
2002-03 119.7
2003-04 134.6
2004-05 367.5
2005-06 1,424.5
2006-07 661.5
2007-08 589.2
2008-09 178.1
2009-2010 243.1
Source: SBP & BOI

The father of UAE Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan valued the importance of closed bilateral relations between the two countries from the very beginning which was further patronized by H.H. Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the President of the UAE and H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, Vice-President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai. Pakistan was the first country to accord formal recognition to the establishment of the Federation of seven Emirates in 1971. The caravans of mutual trust, respect and harmony is going great between the two sides.

Pakistan has a strategic location and offers vast opportunities for foreign direct investments (FDIs) and joint ventures in infrastructure development; electricity generation, water desalination, agricultural based industries, insurance and real estate. There is a great scope of having joint ventures in aluminum products, agriculture (horticulture, farming, dairy farming and livestock, financial sector, housing prefabricated houses and affordable low income houses are bright. Mutual cooperation in the field of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) would be fruitful.

Greater aviation would be vital for promoting bilateral trade volumes. More than 40 flights weekly fly from UAE and operated by five national carriers Etihad Airways, Emirates, Fly Dubai, Al Arabia and RAK to different destinations of Pakistan. The delegation of the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) recently visited Islamabad to explore new avenues of mutual cooperation.

Upon the directives of H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan the President of UAE, the UAE project to assist Pakistan was launched in January 2011 at a total cost of US$100 million for the reconstruction of infrastructure damaged by devastating floods and natural calamities in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, Bajaur and South Waziristan districts of the tribal belt to provide better life to the people by creating jobs. The Project is to focus on four major sectors: education, public health, roads, bridges and supply of water treatment plants and networks.

On its part, UAE played an important role in the formation of Friends of Democratic Pakistan (FoDP). Initially, UAE hosted many meetings (ministerial & public-private conferences) of FoDP and tried its best to highlight the aim, importance and utility of this forum to the world at large for the socio-economic development of Pakistan.

Khalifa Bin Zayed al-Nahyan humanitarian Foundation, Zayed Charitable, Humanitarian Foundation, Mohammaed bin Rashid Charitable Foundation and Red Crescent have sponsored many social welfare projects in Pakistan. So far, more than 200 projects including hospitals, healthcare units, dispensaries, colleges, schools, , housing units, an airport, bridges, roads, water supply system for human consumption and irrigation of plants and pastures in arid lands have been completed. These projects have become centers of hope.

The UAE is the country’s second largest trading partner and it is also the second largest source of remittances. A large number of expatriates are gainfully employed in UAE and they have contributed significantly to the country’s economy and promotion of bilateral ties between the two nations.

IMPORTS-EXPORTS (($ million)

Year/ Period Imports Exports
1999-2000 907,588 492,710
2000-01 1,336,902 625,905
2001-02 1,353,940 727,474
2002-03 1,509,635 1,039,168
2003-04 942,913 1,708,688
2004-05 1,095,485 1,703,131
2005-06 3,405,563 1,312,757
2006-07 2,769,091 1,385,082
2007-08 3,413,527 2,070,953
Source: SBP & BOI

Many big private companies of UAE are working in Pakistan in various fields and contributing extensively to vital sectors of the economy.

Sectors Names of the UAE Private Companies
Telecommunication Etisalat, Warid, Wateen and U-phone
Banking Bank Al Falah under Abu Dhabi Group, Bruj Bank, Emirates Global Islamic Bank
Real Estate Emaar Properties Group, Al-Ghurair Giga and Al Habtour Trading Enterprises, Bahria Emirates, DAMAC and Al-Ghuran
Airlines Etihad Airways , Emirates Airlines, FlyDubai, Al Arabia and RAK
Insurance Al-Falah Insurance Company, Emirates Investment Group

Expected Joint ventures Oil exploration, energy, aluminum products, agriculture (horticulture, corporate agricultural farming, dairy farming and livestock), financial sector, housing (prefabricated houses and affordable low income houses).


In order to increase bilateral trade and other related business activities, effective role of Pak-UAE business council, frequent visits of respective chambers of commerce, holding of exhibitions and expos, sharing of information among the business community and potential investors must be speeded-up. Extension of coordination and collaboration in science and technology fields is required to be streamlined. The two countries can consider cooperation in the fields of education, alternative energy resources i.e. solar, wind, and geothermal, /alternative energy resources i.e. solar, wind, geothermal, food security, dairy development and agro-based industries.

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