UAE-US Trade: A Strong and Dynamic Partnership

UAE-US Trade Relationship

Over the past decade, trade between the UAE and US doubled. Since 2009, the UAE has been the top export market for US goods in the entire Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

In 2017, total trade between the two countries totaled $24.3 billion, with the US exporting $20 billion to the UAE. The resulting $15.7 billion trade surplus for the US is America’s third largest trade surplus globally. 

This robust trade relationship reflects the success of the UAE’s increasingly diverse economy, with non-oil sectors accounting for 70% of the UAE’s GDP.

Top categories of US exports in 2016 included: aircraft and spacecraft, electric machinery and sound/TV equipment, vehicles, nuclear reactors, and natural pearls and precious metals. The UAE trades with all 50 US states, particularly Washington, California, Texas, Florida, and New York. Trade with the UAE supports more than 119,000 American jobs, strengthening the importance of the continued bilateral trade relationship.

UAE investment and exports to the US also contribute to the American economy. According to SelectUSA, the UAE is the 7th fastest growing source of foreign direct investment in the United States. UAE FDI in the US reached $27.48 billion in 2015, accounting for approximately 12,800 US jobs. Meanwhile, the bilateral trade relationship continues to expand as UAE exports to the US rise. Total 2017 UAE exports to the US approached $4.3 billion—a 44% increase since 2015.


Key Facts

  • The UAE trades with all 50 US states.
  • Aircraft, spacecraft, and related parts were the top category of US exports ($6.5 billion), accounting for nearly 30% of total exports in 2016. This reflects the UAE’s position as a global commercial aviation hub.
  • Other top categories of US exports in 2016 included: electric machinery and sound/TV equipment ($2.7 billion); vehicles ($2.5 billion); nuclear reactors ($2.5 billion); and natural pearls and precious metals ($1.9 billion).
  • The UAE is one of the largest Foreign Military Sales customers of the US, purchasing more than $20 billion in US defense hardware and services over the past decade, including one of the world’s largest non-US F-16 fleets.
  • Infrastructure development projects across the UAE are driving growth and supporting billions in US exports. Projects include the development of a new railway; network support for the UAE civilian nuclear energy program; the construction of new airports in Abu Dhabi and Dubai; and the expansion of commercial seaports across the UAE.


Top 15 States Exporting to the UAE: