California-UAE bilateral trade exceeds $1.5 billion

June 12, 2014

Bilateral trade between the United States (US) and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has grown significantly – thanks in part to the booming commercial relationship between the UAE and the State of California.

In 2013, total bilateral trade between the US and UAE exceeded a record of more than $26 billion. The UAE continues to be the largest export market for US goods and services in the Middle East and North Africa – the fifth straight year the UAE has held this distinction. Among US states, California is the UAE’s 5th largest trading partner, with exports totaling $1.6 billion in 2013.

Trade between the UAE and the State of California has jumped almost 750 percent since 1999, when trade valued more than $189 million. In 2013, the UAE ranked 23rd among California’s global export markets, even though the UAE’s economy is only the 49th largest in the world.

In 2013, top exports from California to the UAE included global forage exports, automotive, computers, and nuts. Global corporations such as Apple, Toshiba, Hewlett Packard, Blue Diamond have been major export contributors to the UAE. Transportation companies, such as Boeing, GM, Toyota, and Tesla Motors, have a number of subsidiaries and manufacturing plants throughout California, which are also major contributors to California’s exports to the UAE. Furthermore, exports to the UAE alone supported the employment of almost 23,000 individuals in California.

“California and the UAE share a very strong and increasingly dynamic commercial and cultural relationship,” said Abdulla Alsaboosi, Consul General of the UAE. The new Los Angeles Consulate – the first UAE consulate in the US – is further evidence of the importance of the State of California to the UAE’s close relationship with the US.

As part of the strong bilateral trade relationship, California ports handle a substantial amount of trade between the US and UAE. Los Angeles is the eighth largest US port for trade with the UAE, followed by San Francisco, ranked at 15th. Combined, the two ports handled more than $1.5 billion worth of goods in 2013 alone – more than a 300 percent increase from 1999, when the two ports handled a combined $384 million in goods.

The importance of California as a key trading partner to the UAE is further evidenced by the growing number of nonstop flights between the UAE and the state. The UAE’s two major international airlines, Emirates Airline and Etihad Airways, operate daily nonstop flights between Los Angeles and Dubai and Abu Dhabi, respectively. San Francisco is also an international departure city for Emirates.

The State of California and the UAE continue to explore new areas for future collaboration across a variety of sectors, including technology, clean energy, transportation, manufacturing, and the entertainment industry. As the UAE and California continue to deepen their long-standing economic relationship, UAE investment will continue to play a valuable role in supporting the state’s economic development and job creation efforts.