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Map of United Arab Emirates

Map of United Arab Emirates.
flag of the United Arab Emirates.

United Arab Emirates

Bilateral relationship

The UAE is New Zealand’s most diversified market in the Middle East. In the year ended June 2011, the UAE ranked as New Zealand’s 19th most significant bilateral trade partner and is currently our second largest trading partner in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).  In the year to June 2011, bilateral trade topped NZ$1.2 billion.
New Zealand exports to the UAE are made up of a wide range of products besides traditional meat and dairy exports. Exports include building materials, fruit, wine, refrigerators, machinery, clothing, timber and medical equipment.
The UAE is also increasingly important for the New Zealand professional services sector.  New Zealand companies are supplying a range of consultancy services to the UAE including education development, public sector management and English language training. 
The establishment of free trade zones in the UAE has allowed NewZealand information and communications technology companies, including those present in the newly established New Zealand Technology Oasis at Dubai Internet City, to demonstrate the positive contribution they can make to the UAE’s rapidly developing economy.  New Zealand exporters are also increasingly using the UAE as a base from which to manage business throughout the wider region.
New Zealand opened an Embassy in Abu Dhabi in early 2011 in recognition of the UAE’s increasing economic and political importance to New Zealand.
New Zealand concluded negotiations for a Free Trade Arrangement with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC ) states in 2009, although this has yet to enter force.
An Air Services Agreement and a Visa Waiver Arrangement with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) took effect on 1July 1999. A bilateral Agreement for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and an Arrangement on Trade and Economic Cooperation were signed with the UAE in September 2003.

Since 1 July 1999, GCC nationals, including from UAE, have not required visas to visit New Zealand for visits of up to 90 days.

Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait.

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Key facts


Land Area - 83,600 sq km
- 7.1 million (2011 EIU estimate)
Capital City
- Abu Dhabi
- Islam
Official Language
- Arabic (although English is widely spoken)


Political system - Federation of seven emirates: Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Ras al-Khaimah, Umm Al-Qaiwain and Al-Fujairah.
National government
- Council of Ministers led by the Prime Minister, all appointed by the Supreme Council of Rulers. Each emirate is represented by at least one Minister. The Council of Ministers initiates legislation for ratification by the Supreme Council of Rulers, which is formed by the hereditary rulers of the seven emirates, is also a policymaking body which meets formally about once a year.
National legislature - Unicameral Federal National Council of 40 appointed members representing the separate emirates. It has a consultative role only.
Head of State - President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahayan, Ruler of Abu Dhabi succeeded his father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahayan, following the latter’s death on 2 November 2004. The President is elected by the Supreme Council of Rulers.
Head of Government - Prime Minister, Vice President, Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Defence: Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum.

Main political parties - Political parties are not permitted



GDP - US $349.9 billion (2011 EIU estimate)
Real GDP growth –  3.3.% (2011 EIU estimate)
Exports - US$252 billion (2011 EIU estimate)
Imports - US$185 billion (2011 EIU estimate)
Main exports - Re-exports (34.3%); crude oil (32.7%)
Current account - US$25.8 billion (2011 EIU estimate)
Inflation – 1.6% (2011 EIU estimate)
Total external debt - US$167.2 billion (2011 EIU estimate)

New Zealand Trade

NZ Exports (FOB) - NZ$490 million (for the year to June 2011)
Main Exports – Dairy ( (70%); meat (6%); machinery (6%)
NZ Imports (CIF) - NZ$712 million (for the year to June 2011)
Main Imports - Crude oil (87%).

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New Zealand Ministerial visits to United Arab Emirates

Defence linkages

UAE Ministerial Visits to New Zealand

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Travel advice

The Safetravel website provides a travel advisory for travellers to United Arab Emirates [external link].

Enquiries may be directed to Consular Division at the following numbers: telephone: +64 4 439 8000; fax: +64 4 439 8532.

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Page last updated: Monday, 09 December 2013 13:00 NZDT