Kerala youth hold a banner that reads ‘#Visit Mohammad Bin Zayed India’. Image Credit: WAM

Dubai: India is the third largest trade partner of the UAE, with imports from the South Asian giant reaching $17.4 billion (Dh63.85 billion) in 2014, the Ministry of Economy revealed.

A study, released by the Ministry of Economy ahead of the visit of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, to India this week, highlights the key features of the non-oil foreign trade between the UAE and India.

The study emphasises that trade and investment sectors remain the cornerstones of the booming bilateral economic ties between the UAE and India,

According to the study, ten commodities accounted for 67 per cent of imports from India during 2014. Various gold varieties dominated the list of the UAE’s imports from India, with a total value of $4.6 billion accounting for 26.4 per cent of the total UAE imports from India.

Diamond came in second with a total value of nearly $3.2 billion, while jewellery and ornaments occupied third spot with a total value of $2.1 billion representing a growth of 30 per cent. It is notable that the UAE’s imports of wheat from India rose by 179 per cent.


The UAE’s re-exports to India during 2014 stood at $5.8 billion. Re-export of diamonds alone accounted for $4.38 billion, representing 76 per cent of the total re-exports of the UAE to India.

Non-oil exports

UAE’s non-oil exports to India in 2014 stood at nearly $5.3 billion. Overall, 10 commodities accounted for 88.5 per cent of the total non-oil exports of the UAE to India.

Different varieties of gold — raw, dust, and semi-processed — occupied 59 per cent of the total non-oil exports to India which stood at $3.16 billion. This was followed by ornaments and jewellery standing at $364 million with an annual growth of 41 per cent, and by trade in copper wire with a total value of $319 million and an annual growth rate of 26 per cent.

Investments in India

The study revealed that the UAE is the largest Arab investor country in India, accounting for 81.2 per cent of the total Arab investments in India and is ranked 11th in the world in terms of foreign direct investments in India.

The total UAE investments in India amounted to $8 billion, including $2.89 billion in the form of direct foreign investments.

UAE investments in India are concentrated in five sectors, 16 per cent in construction, 14 per cent in energy, 10 per cent in metallurgy, 10 per cent in services sector, and five per cent in computer software and hardware.

The other sectors include petroleum products, precious metals, gems and jewellery, minerals, chemicals, wood and wood products.

According to the study, among the leading national companies investing in India are DP World, which handles 34 per cent of the total container terminals in India, Emaar MGF, which has emerged a leader in the Indian real estate sector, Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) and Emirates Telecommunications Corporation (etisalat).

Indian investments

The study has affirmed that the attractive investment environment in the UAE owing to several factors such as the economic and political stability and the geographic and strategic location as the gateway to the regional and international markets has made it an ideal place for investments.

Backed by excellent geographical location, highly developed infrastructure, and ease of investment, the UAE has developed into the second largest country in terms of Indian investments in the Arab region with a total FDI flow of $5.7 billion in 2013 and a growth rate of 20.30 per cent compared to 2012.