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United Arab Emirates - Selling and buying

Contents extracted from the comprehensive atlas of international trade by Export Entreprises

Reaching the consumers

Marketing opportunities

Consumer behavior: The Emirates consumers are above all guided by the price in their purchase decisions. Today, the nationals are more and more sensitive to other considerations like product quality, existence of after-sales service or even the degree of innovation in the product. They are also sensitive in following their customs and traditions and in view of this perspective an Arabic packaging is recommended.
Consumer profile: People from Emirates are a young population. They have very high standard of living. They are curious vis-a-vis new technologies and products. They are always looking for the most modern equipment particularly in the field of mobile telephony and information technology. From another point of view, they are very conscious of brand image for luxury products and everything.
Main advertising agencies:

Distribution network

Evolution of the sector: There are a number of selling methods possible in Emirates and among them direct selling can be pointed out. However this mode remains very less widespread.
The most widespread custom is to market your products through local commercial agent. It is recommended to choose from different distributors or commercial agents in each Emirate. Imports and exports of food products are typically entrusted to companies specialized in this field. This market is dominated by 5 or 6 companies. However, a growing number of food distributors import directly themselves become a distributor and a wholesaler for other more modest establishments. Finally, the companies have the tendency to use the geographical position of Dubai, which is in fact a regional hub, for stocking their goods in this Emirate before re-export to other markets as those of India or Iran. Moreover, the use of franchise has witnesses a significant expansion.
Types of outlet: Supermarkets concentrate on the largest part of the market in the field of distribution with 49.2% of sales. The market leaders are the Groups Carrefour , Emke and Spinney to a lesser extent. They are followed by bulk sales which realizes 28.3% of the market share. In the third position are the shopping centers with 6%, then fairs and exhibitions with 1.5% finally followed by specialized stores with 0.2%.
Organizations in the sectors:

Market access procedures

Economic Cooperation: The Emirates are very open to international trade. The country is part of the Greater Arab Free Trade Area (GAFTA), a pact of the Arab League entered into force in January 2005 which aims to form an Arabic free trade area.
Non tariff barriers: It is prohibited to import foods exposed to radiation and import of alcohol and pork is strictly restricted to fixed quotas. It should also be known that any beef or poultry based product should be accompanied by a Health certificate from the country of origin.
The UAE is part of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). In 1981, GCC had established an agreement (Unified Economic Agreement) according to which all farm, animal, industrial products or natural resources of the member States should be exempt from customs duties or any other tax when they conduct intra-GCC trade. GCC is presently in talks with the European Union, Japan and USA for future free-trade agreements.
Average Customs Duty (excluding agricultural products): Since the adoption of a common tariff for the GCC countries, the customs duty is 5% of the CIF value of the product.
Customs classification: Since 2003 and the setting-up of the free trade area between the GCC countries, the system has been harmonized.
Import procedures: You must furnish:

- Delivery order from a shipping agent addressed to a licensed company by licensing agencies in UAE;
- Original bill of lading (for seaports);
- Original invoice from the exporter addressed to a licensed importer in the country detailing total quantity, goods description and total value for each item (3 exemplaires); *
- Copy of the trade license of buyer and seller;
- Certificate of origin approved by the chamber of commerce at the country of origin detailing the origin of goods; *
- Transport certificate; *
- The Customs entry declaration;
- A form or letter of exemption from customs duties in case the exemption requirements are fulfilled including Local Purchase Order (LPO);
- Detailed packing list as per weight, method of packing and HS code for each individual article contained in the shipment; *
- Import permit from the competent agencies in the event of importing restricted goods; *
- Health or Phytosanitary certificate or an export certificate for the processed products attested by the concerned national department office, confirming that the product is fit for human consumption
- A halal certificate for the meat ingredients; *
- A non-radiation certificate for some products (optional for European products); *
- Transport documents that are required for import clearance.

Documents with a * must be attested by the Embassy of United Arab Emirats and the Chamber of Commerce in the country of origin of products.

Organizing goods transport

Organizing goods transport to and from: Maritime transport remains the principal means to goods transport. There are 15 ports in Emirates which experience an average traffic of 3 billion containers in a year. The port Jebel El Ali is one of the largest artificial ports in the world.
The air or surface transport freight remains less important than the maritime transport. According to them, rail transport is non-existant.
Sea transport organizations:
Air transport organizations:

Domestic business directories

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