Published On: 20/11/2018

  • Suriname tops list of Dubai’s trading partners in the Caribbean region with bilateral non-oil trade valued at $113 million
  • Guyana, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Trinidad & Tobago, Belize and Haiti collectively account for 52% of Dubai’s trade with Caribbean region
  • Dominican Republic was the top destination for foreign direct investment in 2017

Dubai, UAE: The value of non-oil trade between Dubai and Caribbean countries totaled $273 million in 2017, according to new analysis released by Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry ahead of the first UAE-Caribbean Cooperation Forum in Dubai.

The trade volume was dominated by imports from the region which were valued at $183 million in 2017, while $90 million worth of exports contributed 33% to Dubai’s trade with the region.

The UAE-Caribbean Cooperation Forum, taking place on November 24th-26th 2018, is co-organised by the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, in partnership with the UAE Ministry of Economy and the UAE Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development.

The three-day event will bring together more than 100 government and business leaders from the UAE and Caribbean countries and shed light on lucrative investment opportunities in the Caribbean region.

Placing a focus on trade, investments, development and cultural exchange, the high-level forum will examine bilateral opportunities available across the entire Caribbean region, and explore business potential in Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica and Haiti.

The analysis revealed that Suriname was Dubai’s top trading partner in the Caribbean in 2017, with bilateral non-oil trade valued at $113.8 million, accounting for 42% of the emirate’s trade with the region. Guyana was ranked second as the country’s non-oil trade with Dubai amounted to $52.1 million, or 19% of the emirate’s trade with the region.

Dominican Republic and Trinidad & Tobago were named as the third and fourth largest trading partners to Dubai within the region, as the countries’ claimed shares of 10% and 9%, respectively, followed by Belize (7%) and Haiti (3%).

Suriname’s high volume of trade with Dubai was mainly dominated by imports of precious metals, with a value exceeding $108.5 million last year. Exports to Suriname from Dubai reached $5.4 million and comprised of machinery, electronics and prepared foodstuffs, beverages and tobacco.

H.E. Hamad Buamim, President & CEO of Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, noted that the findings reflected the expanding trade links between the UAE and Caribbean countries, as well as the high-potential areas and sectors where bilateral trade and investment can be boosted in the future.  

“The Caribbean region is an extremely important market for the UAE, as it is home to more than 42 million people who can benefit from the goods and services Dubai exports and re-exports. The analysis highlighted these opportunities and the broad scope for Caribbean companies to cooperate with Dubai-based companies in various economic sectors such as food security, manufacturing, logistics, tourism and renewable energy, as well as fintech and emerging technologies,” he said.

Dubai Chamber’s President and CEO explained that Caribbean countries offer several advantages and growth opportunities for UAE-based companies, including close proximity to the US and Latin American markets, vast natural resources, and a business-friendly environment that is conducive to foreign investment. He described Dubai is a global gateway for Caribbean exporters want to broaden their horizons and access new markets across the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

The analysis revealed that Caribbean markets attracted $6.89 billion worth of foreign direct investment in 2017, with United States, Canada, and China ranking as top sources of FDI flows. Among Caribbean countries, Dominican Republic attracted the most FDI ($3.6 billion) last year, which was injected into the country’s tourism, telecom, real estate and mining sectors. The Bahamas was the second biggest FDI recipient in the region, with inflows totaling $928 million, followed by Jamaica in the third position with the country attracting $888 million.

In addition, Dominican Republic, Trinidad and Tobago, and Cuba were identified as the most attractive markets in the region for UAE companies, due to their market size, large populations, and existing trade links with Dubai.

Commodities from the Caribbean region with high export potential to Dubai include plastics, jewellery, iron and steel, copper articles and copper wire, fertilisers, cosmetics and perfumes, glass containers and soap. Logistics, tourism, agribusiness, light manufacturing and energy were identified as key sectors in the region that offer the most investment potential.