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Reinforcing the bonds of Friendship

Mehmood Ul Hassan Khan

Pakistan and the UAE enjoy extremely close and fraternal relations, founded on deep-rooted cultural affinities, shared faith and traditions, as also geographic proximity and identity of interests. The bilateral relations are based on the strong pillars of commercial and mutual understanding. The foundation of trust worthy bilateral relations was laid by the founder of modern UAE, late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. It has been further strengthened by the President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

UAE has been a major donor of economic assistance to Pakistan. UAE has been appreciative of Pakistan’s contribution to the evolution of key institutions in the Emirates such as armed forces, police, health and education, and has reciprocated in the same friendly manner to the full satisfaction of Pakistan.

UAE, the Biggest Trading Partner

The UAE has emerged as one of Pakistan’s major economic and trading partners. Pakistan remained one of the biggest recipients of UAE aid in the wake different earthquakes, IDP’s of Swat and recent flood devastations. UAE also extended its financial assistance for Pakistan’s development projects and meet budgetary deficits. The UAE is also a major investor in Pakistan’s key sectors like oil and gas, telecommunications, real estate, aviation, banking and energy.

According to an official figure, trade between the two countries is increasing day by day it has surpassed $US 10 billion during 2012-2013. The following given table shows the volumes of bilateral trade between the two countries.
(US$ Million)
Year Exports Imports Total Trade Volume Trade Balance Pakistan’s Exports
2006-07 1,392.50 3,280.40 4,672.90 (1,887.9)
2007-08 2,070.95 4,985.30 7,056.25 (2,914.35)
2008-09 1,469.90 4,399.62 5,869.52 (2,929.72)
2009-10 1,720.41 4,781.84 6,502.25 (3,061.43)
2010-11 1,855.18 5,812.01 7,667.19 (3,956.83)
2011-12 1,891.45 6,350.894 8,242.346 (4,459.442)
Source: SBP & BOI (2013)

The above table show the balance of trade towards the UAE which should be gradually rectified by changing our trade priorities and, preferences with the help of better commercial diplomacy.

Main Exchange of Commodities (Imports-Exports)

UAE is the biggest re-exporter of many edible commodities. Its service sector provides each and every possible facility to increase the volumes of imports-exports.

Pakistan (Exports) UAE
Nylon textiles, meat, silk and wool, rice, cotton, crochet-dye, textile-treatment requirements of fabrics and clothes, towels, marble and surgical instruments Petroleum, petrochemical products, iron ore, scrap-plastics, chemical products, non-ferrous metals-machines, spare parts of cars, ships and boats.

According to BOI Pakistan exports to UAE was Rs.44291.74 million in 2012 projecting 11.89 percent of the total exports. It was Rs.33218.89 million in 2011, with 9.38 percent in 2011. It shows that a volume of exports to UAE is one the increase.

UAE the Biggest Foreign Investor

Foreign direct investment (FDIs) is crucial for economic survival and industrial production. It is the effective tool for job generation and value addition. According to the data of SBP and Board of Investment (BOI), the UAE is the biggest investors in Pakistan. Its collective investment in the country has reached to $US 21 billion in 2012-2013. Moreover, in the last decade, UAE merged as the biggest investor in Pakistan. The major proportions of the UAE investments (private & public) came from banking, telecommunication, information technology, ICT, electronics, real estate, agricultural and corporate farming.

Role of UAE Private Companies

A large numbers of the UAE private companies are actively participating in the socio-economic prosperity of Pakistan. These have already elevated the levels of production, service and value-addition. Detail is given below as:

Sectors UAE Private companies Multiplier Effects
Telecommunication Etisalat, Warid, Wateen and U-phone Pakistan experiences the connectivity revolution. Telecommunication sector is one of the biggest sectors for job creation, revenue and service in the country.
Banking Bank Al Falah under Abu Dhabi Group, Dubai Islamic Bank, Emirates Global Islamic Bank SBP has already appreciated the role of UAE banks working in the country which are the benchmark of service, delivery and finances especially the consumers.
Real Estate Emaar Properties Group, Al-Ghurair Giga and Al Habtour Trading Enterprises, Bahria Emirates, DAMAC and Al-Ghuran UAE companies are game changer, providing the best quality of service and execution.
Airlines Etihad Airways , Emirates Airlines and FlyDubai The introduction of UAE airliners in the country has made international journey a remarkable experience. It has introduced a healthy competition. Etihad Airways and Emirates Airlines are the two most popular airlines in the country.
Insurance Al-Falah Insurance Company, Emirates Investment Group, Takaful Pakistan Limited Insurance industry in the country benefited from the international exposure of the UAE insurance companies.

During 2013, Dexterite a UAE-based company signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Board of Investment (BOI) on Monday. It would help in distribution system of electricity and this firm would work out as to what investment was required in our distribution companies and what kind of assistance they could provide to our distribution companies.

Prospective Joint ventures

Different Fields Details
Petroleum and petroleum products The import bill of Pakistan always on higher side due to its heavy reliance of oil. Prospects are high to take initiative in this sector.
Aluminum products Construction boom in the GCC and UAE would brighten the chances of mutual cooperation.
Agriculture (horticulture, corporate agricultural farming, dairy farming and livestock) Food energy is one of the main issues of the UAE economic diversification policy. Pakistan may assist its brotherly country. Even now many private firms of the UAE are investing in the high protein cattle food named Alaph in Pakistan.
Islamic Banking UAE and especially has become regional and global hub of Islamic Economy. Policy measures must be taken to excel in this field.
Construction Prefabricated houses and affordable low income houses are the basic requirement in the country.
Energy Pakistan is an energy deficit country which has already damaged our socio-economic fabric. Chances are very high in the energy cooperation especially in alternate energy i.e. solar and wind. Masdar would be game changer.
Source: Different research journals & newspapers

UAE the Biggest Worker Remittances Country

In the times of national constant budgetary deficits, a worker remittance is the hope of the last resort. According to latest report of the SBP (November, 2013) overseas Pakistani workers remitted an amount of $5,275.61 million in the first four months July to October of the current fiscal 2013-14 (FY14), showing a growth of 6.27 percent when compared with $4,964.21 million received during the same period of last fiscal year July-October FY13.

Every year, the 1.5 million Pakistanis working in the UAE send the valuable remittances reaching to $2.5 billion due to which UAE has now the biggest country of the Pakistani worker remittances in the world. It shows the close trade & commerce relations between the two countries.

Concluding Remarks

Pakistan and United Arab Emirates are strategic partners. Bilateral relations would be further enhanced by initiating meaningful policy measures in the fields of energy production/supply, food security, civil aviation and banking & finance. Enhanced cooperation in the fields of alternative energy especially the solar energy would be game changer in the bilateral relations of both the countries.

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