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Saudi Arabia Leads GCC Intra-Trade in 12 years

Middle East : 19 July 2012

Source-The Saudi Gazette

Saudi Arabia maintained its leading position as trade partner in the GCC region from 1999 to 2011-end, dominating more than 42 percent of the UAE’s non-oil trade alone, said Khalid Ali Al Bustani, acting Director-General of the UAE Federal Customs Authority (FCA) Wednesday at he conclusion of the two-day fourth meeting of the General Directors of the UAE and Saudi Customs Authorities.

The Saudi delegation was headed by Saleh bin M. Al-Khaliwi, Director General of Saudi Customs. The meeting was chaired by Al Bustani
Saudi Arabia is the UAE’s first partner in the GCC region. Based on the UAE’s non-oil trade statistics, KSA is one of the major trade partners in the Middle East, while the UAE is deemed the Kingdom’s main trade gate.

“The FCA’s statistics report shows that intra-trade volume between the UAE and KSA stood at approximately AED178.7 billion from 1999-2011. Saudi imports reached nearly AED113.8 billion, while the UAE exports and re-exports came at AED22.1 billion and AED42.8 billion, respectively.”

Al Bustani said that the meeting comes in line with the directions of the sound leadership in the two countries on coordinating to fulfill the obligations of the GCC Customs Union and taking the procedures necessary for increasing intra-trade volumes in outlets.

He added: “The meeting was aimed at enhancing customs cooperation between both countries, exchanging opinions and information about common trade issues and developing the mechanisms required for overcoming possible hurdles to the transfer of goods through the agreed-upon communication channels to meet citizen ambitions in the UAE and Saudi Arabia.”

The meeting was a good opportunity to promote customs cooperation, thanks to customs authorities’ strategic role in achieving target economic growth rates in both countries amid a great mutual desire for boosting cooperation in customs issues.

During the third meeting which was held in Abu Dhabi, the participants agreed on forming a bilateral customs team to follow up and handle trade issues. The team was agreed to meet on a quarterly basis.
“Coordination with the Saudi Customs Authority springs from FCA’s strategic objectives, namely protecting the security of society and to facilitate trade and enhance cooperation with partners worldwide,” he added.
Trade acceleration and growth in light of globalization, liberated economic policy and the security challenges related to the increased organized crimes represent the major hindrance to official customs authorities across the world.

“The alertness of customs officials and sound leadership in the GCC region, especially the UAE and KSA, in addition to advanced inspection techniques, official awareness of potential risks all contribute to facing challenges. We have a great confidence in the customs sector to overcome hurdles using a state-of-the-art method that can protect the security of society and facilitate intra-GCC trade,” he added.

“Cooperation between both countries’ customs is at the highest level in all aspects. This cooperation is spurred by mutual understanding and a desire for achieving common goals whether on the level of the Saudi-UAE Joint Customs Committee, liaison groups, and other meetings to address various issues on customs agenda. The committees and liaison teams work on solving any problems promptly.”

Al Bustani said sharing opinion and advice with the Saudi Customs and other authorities in the GCC as well as international forums is one of the main pillars of FCA’s strategy. He added that coordination with international customs authorities arose from an initiative launched by the UAE out of its conviction that being in talks as one bloc bear fruits in the field of customs.

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