Published On: 10/04/2019

• UAE accounts for 27% of exports from GCC region to Latin America and the Caribbean, and receives 46% of imports from LAC countries

• Dubai Chamber President & CEO: Report highlights tremendous trade potential and we plan to capitalise on that opportunity through the GBF platform and our representative offices in Latin America

Panama City, Panama: Trade flows between GCC countries and Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) reached $16.3 billion in 2018, while the UAE remained a top trading partner in the Gulf region for LAC countries, according to a new report conducted by Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) in cooperation with Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The report, entitled Towards a Renewed and Strengthened Relationship: Fostering ties between Latin America and the Caribbean and the Gulf Countries, was released during the 3rd Global Business Forum on Latin America which kicked off today in Panama City.

In 2018, Gulf countries imported $10.9 billion worth of products from Latin America and the Caribbean, while they exported products to the region valued at $5.4 billion. The UAE accounted for 27% of exports from GCC region to Latin America and the Caribbean, and 46 percent of imports from LAC countries, making it the top growth market for LAC traders, the report revealed.

Brazil, Argentina and Mexico were identified as the top trading partners in the region for GCC markets, jointly acquiring 76% of the total intraregional trade between the two regions. Brazil’s trade with the Gulf countries in 2018 amounted to $9.1 billion, followed by Argentina ($2 billion) and Mexico ($1.3 billion).

The report outlined several recommendations for boosting trade flows between the two regions, including establishing new trade, investment and double taxation agreements, increasing the number of diplomatic missions, launching additional direct flights, and further facilitating bilateral business exchange.

According to IDB’s estimates, new trade agreements could potentially increase trade flows between the GCC and LAC regions by $9.8 billion per year, while it also noted that expanding diplomatic footprint could give a $3.3 billion boost to bilateral trade.

Simplifying export and import mechanisms and processes, and implementing initiatives such as a single-window system for all procedures, licensing licensed economic agents, and signing mutual recognition agreements with procedures adopted by each country were also important steps that countries in the two regions could take to facilitate and accelerate bilateral trade in the future.

Plastic products and electrical machinery remain the top categories dominating bilateral trade between the two regions, while vehicles, pharmaceutical products, electrical appliances, iron and steel were identified as high-potential products.

H.E. Hamad Buamim, President & CEO of Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the report highlights the tremendous trade potential that remains largely untapped and noted that it highlights a major business opportunity which the Chamber will plan to capitalise on through the GBF platform and its three representative offices in Latin America.

He explained that Dubai Chamber’s growing presence in Latin America supports Dubai’s economic diversification plans and strategic vision, adding that boosting bilateral trade and attracting Latin American companies to Dubai are among the representative offices’ top priorities. He noted that the report released by IDB provided much needed clarity on trade flows and commerce between the GCC and LAC region, and stressed Dubai Chamber’s commitment to further facilitating business exchange and forging new partnerships that create mutual benefits and economic growth.

He pointed out that the results of the report clearly show that there are many commercial and investment opportunities for cooperation between the GCC and Latin markets in various sectors and fields, adding that Dubai Chamber regularly conducts its own studies on promising Latin American and Caribbean markets as part of its efforts to identify business opportunities for its members.

Organised by Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry in partnership with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and programmed in association with the Economist Events, GBF Latin America – Panama 2019 is bringing together government and business leaders from Latin America, the Caribbean and GCC regions in Panama City to explore new avenues of economic cooperation.

Taking place in Panama City on April 9th-10th under the theme “Next Hubs, New Regions”, the forum offers a platform for stakeholders to discuss concrete business prospects and new opportunities available in Latin America and the wider Gulf region, which are accessible via the hubs of Panama and Dubai respectively.