Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansouri
File: UAE's Minister of Economy Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansouri. Image Credit: Atiq Ur Rehman/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy, said on Tuesday the tariff issue relating to aluminium and steel could be resolved next year as talks continue with the US.

US President Donald Trump earlier this year announced import tariffs of 25 per cent on steel and 10 per cent on aluminium, and negotiations have been going on between the US and the UAE to resolve the matter.

25%


steel import tariffs imposed by Trump administration

“We will continue to go and explain our case because it is a very strong case. When it comes to the bilateral trade it is in favour of the US highly,” he said speaking to reporters on the sidelines of anti-illicit trade and brand protection summit in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.

“At the end of day the main question was whether there was any imbalance of trade between the US and other nations. This is where they took action, but for us, this is in favour of the US so we don’t see any reason why we have been slapped with this 10 per cent (tariff).”

Largest exporter

The UAE is the third-largest exporter of aluminium to the United States, after China and Russia. It also exported 290,221 metric tonnes of steel to the US in 2017, according to figures by the US Department of Commerce.

290221

metric tonnes of steel exported by UAE to US in 2017

Al Mansouri said he held discussions with the US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross during his visit to Washington in June this year.

“He promised [US commerce secretary] us they are going to look into the issue.”

Speaking on other aspects of the UAE’s economy, Al Mansouri said the new foreign direct investment law, which came into effect last month will strengthen the legislative system and will boost the investment environment.

“We anticipate investments in the UAE to grow from 15 to 20 per cent in 2019. The new law is a pivotal step in the UAE’s efforts to strengthen the legislative system in the country.”

Al Mansouri also said trade volumes have been growing due to prudent policies and targeted growth plans.

Non-oil foreign trade

“The value of non-oil foreign trade in the UAE in 2017, including free trade, amounted to Dh1.612 trillion ($439 billion), of which Dh979 billion ($267 billion) were for imports and Dh443 billion ($121 billion) for re-exports.”

Dh1.612tr

Value of non-oil foreign trade in the UAE in 2017

“UAE’s non-oil exports grew substantially in 2017, reaching Dh190 billion ($52 billion) compared to Dh60 billion ($16.5 billion) a decade ago.”

On illicit trade, he said governments and businesses are losing billions of dollars due to trade in counterfeit products and the UAE, as a strong re-exports hub, could become affected by commercial fraud and harmful trade practices.

“In order to better combat fraudulent trade practices, the new Federal Law No 19 of 2016 was implemented to suppress fraud and contain deception in commercial transactions. This law introduces significantly more hefty penalties to combat fraud, including fraud relating to intellectual property.”