During the period 2009-2019, non-oil trade between Japan and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) reached over $131 billion. To be precise, it totaled 481.34 billion UAE Dirhams. This was not even counting the oil trade. The UAE is in Japan’s top five oil trading partners (having delivered 32.24 million barrels of crude oil between January and October of last year according to Tokyo’s Agency of Energy and Natural Resources), yet none of that trade even entered into these statistics.
Not only was the amount of trade between the two countries, one in West Asia and the other in Northeast Asia, very extensive, it has been increasing. In the first half of 2019, trade between the two countries was 26 billion Dirhams (over $7 billion) excluding oil. These statistics are according to the Ministry of Economy in the UAE, and WAM, which is the official news agency there.
Not only 2019, but also 2018 was a strong year. There were 54.46 billion Dirhams (~$14.83 billion) in trade that year.
Of course, as many people are aware, the UAE exports oil to Japan, which has little oil of its own, but this is not counted in the statistics above. However, other exports, such as copper and aluminum are. The UAE is one of Japan’s top trading partners for both metals.
Japan currently has 14.3 billion Dirhams invested in the UAE, in a total of over 10,000 agencies, brands, or companies. That amount is about $3.83 billion. These include 9,792 brands, 88 companies, and 207 registered commercial agencies. This is according to the Ministry of Economy, Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Authority (FCSA) in the UAE. The UAE’s investment environment encourages foreigners and foreign companies to invest in the UAE.
Japan invests in the following industries in the United Arab Emirates:
- Production of polyethylene and polypropylene
- Renewable energy
Another factor that resulted in more bilateral trade between the two countries was tourism. In 2017, 70,000 Japanese tourists visited the UAE. Tourism from the UAE to Japan has also increased significantly since Japan decided to exempt UAE nationals from needing a visa to enter Japan for the purposes of tourism.