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The Trucial States of the Persian Gulf coast granted the UK control of their defense and foreign affairs in 19th century treaties. In 1971, six of these states - Abu Zaby, 'Ajman, Al Fujayrah, Ash Shariqah, Dubayy, and Umm al Qaywayn - merged to form the United Arab Emirates (UAE). They were joined in 1972 by Ra's al Khaymah. The UAE's per capita GDP is on par with those of leading West European nations. Its generosity with oil revenues and its moderate foreign policy stance have allowed the UAE to play a vital role in the affairs of the region. For more than three decades, oil and global finance drove the UAE's economy. However, in 2008-09, the confluence of falling oil prices, collapsing real estate prices, and the international banking crisis hit the UAE especially hard. In March 2011, about 100 Emirati activists and intellectuals posted on the Internet and sent to the government a petition calling for greater political reform, including the establishment of a parliament with full legislative powers and the further expansion of the electorate and the rights of the Federal National Council (FNC), the UAE's quasi-legislature. In an effort to stem further unrest, the government announced a multi-year, $1.6-billion infrastructure investment plan for the poorer northern Emirates. In late September 2011, an FNC election - in which voting was expanded from 6,600 voters to about 12 percent of the Emirati population - was held for half of the FNC seats. The other half are appointed by the rulers of the Emirates.


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Economy - overview
The UAE has an open economy with a high per capita income and a sizable annual trade surplus. Successful efforts at economic diversification have reduced the portion of GDP based on oil and gas output to 25%. Since the discovery of oil in the UAE more than 30 years ago, the UAE has undergone a profound transformation from an impoverished region of small desert principalities to a modern state with a high standard of living. The government has increased spending on job creation and infrastructure expansion and is opening up utilities to greater private sector involvement. In April 2004, the UAE signed a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement with Washington and in November 2004 agreed to undertake negotiations toward a Free Trade Agreement with the US, however, those talks have not moved forward. The country's Free Trade Zones - offering 100% foreign ownership and zero taxes - are helping to attract foreign investors. The global financial crisis, tight international credit, and deflated asset prices constricted the economy in 2009. UAE authorities tried to blunt the crisis by increasing spending and boosting liquidity in the banking sector. The crisis hit Dubai hardest, as it was heavily exposed to depressed real estate prices. Dubai lacked sufficient cash to meet its debt obligations, prompting global concern about its solvency. The UAE Central Bank and Abu Dhabi-based banks bought the largest shares. In December 2009 Dubai received an additional $10 billion loan from the emirate of Abu Dhabi. The economy is expected to continue a slow rebound. Dependence on oil, a large expatriate workforce, and growing inflation pressures are significant long-term challenges. The UAE''s strategic plan for the next few years focuses on diversification and creating more opportunities for nationals through improved education and increased private sector employment.

Gdp (purchasing power parity) World Ranking: 50
$262.1 billion (2011 est.)
$249.9 billion (2010 est.)
$247.7 billion (2009 est.)
Note Data are in 2011 US dollars

Gdp (official exchange rate)
$360.1 billion (2011 est.)

Gdp - real growth rate World Ranking: 72
4.9% (2011 est.)
0.9% (2010 est.)
-3.3% (2009 est.)

Gdp - per capita (ppp) World Ranking: 12
$48,800 (2011 est.)
$47,900 (2010 est.)
$48,900 (2009 est.)
Note Data are in 2011 US dollars

Gdp - composition by sector
Agriculture 0.8%
Industry 53.9%
Services 45.3% (2011 est.)

Labor force World Ranking: 89
4.111 million
Expatriates account for about 85% of the work force (2011 est.)

Labor force - by occupation
Agriculture 7%
Industry 15%
Services 78% (2000 est.)

Unemployment rate World Ranking: 20
2.4% (2001)

Population below poverty line
19.5% (2003)

Household income or consumption by percentage share
Lowest 10% NA%
Highest 10% NA%

Investment (gross fixed) World Ranking: 79
21.1% of GDP (2011 est.)

Revenues $113.4 billion
Expenditures $95.53 billion (2011 est.)

Taxes and other revenues World Ranking: 83
31.5% of GDP (2011 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) World Ranking: 18
5% of GDP (2011 est.)

Public debt World Ranking: 73
43.5% of GDP (2011 est.)
51.2% of GDP (2010 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices) World Ranking: 8
0.9% (2011 est.)
0.9% (2010 est.)

Central bank discount rate

Stock of narrow money World Ranking: 41
$71.92 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
$63.43 billion (31 December 2010 est.)

Stock of broad money World Ranking: 39
$234 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
$214.1 billion (31 December 2010 est.)

Stock of domestic credit World Ranking: 37
$295 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
$274.7 billion (31 December 2010 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares World Ranking: 42
$93.77 billion (31 December 2011)
$104.7 billion (31 December 2010)
$109.6 billion (31 December 2009)

Agriculture - products
Dates, vegetables, watermelons; poultry, eggs, dairy products; fish

Petroleum and petrochemicals; fishing, aluminum, cement, fertilizers, commercial ship repair, construction materials, some boat building, handicrafts, textiles

Industrial production growth rate World Ranking: 95
3.2% (2010 est.)

Electricity - production World Ranking: 36
80.94 billion kWh (2009 est.)

Electricity - consumption World Ranking: 38
70.58 billion kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - exports
0 kWh (2009 est.)

Electricity - imports
0 kWh (2009 est.)

Oil - production World Ranking: 8
2.813 million bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - consumption World Ranking: 33
545,000 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - exports World Ranking: 4
2.395 million bbl/day (2009 est.)

Oil - imports World Ranking: 41
235,300 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Oil - proved reserves World Ranking: 7
97.8 billion bbl (1 January 2011 est.)

Natural gas - production World Ranking: 19
48.84 billion cu m (2009 est.)

Natural gas - consumption World Ranking: 14
59.08 billion cu m (2009 est.)

Natural gas - exports World Ranking: 26
7.01 billion cu m (2009 est.)

Natural gas - imports World Ranking: 18
17.25 billion cu m (2009 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves World Ranking: 7
6.453 trillion cu m (1 January 2011 est.)

Current account balance World Ranking: 18
$26.32 billion (2011 est.)
$11.21 billion (2010 est.)

Exports World Ranking: 24
$252.6 billion (2011 est.)
$212.3 billion (2010 est.)

Exports - commodities
Crude oil 45%, natural gas, reexports, dried fish, dates

Exports - partners
Japan 16.1%, India 14%, Iran 10.9%, South Korea 5.5%, Thailand 5.4%, Singapore 4.4% (2011)

Imports World Ranking: 26
$185.6 billion (2011 est.)
$161.4 billion (2010 est.)

Imports - commodities
Machinery and transport equipment, chemicals, food

Imports - partners
India 19.8%, China 13.9%, US 8.2%, Germany 4.6% (2011)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold World Ranking: 32
$53.59 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
$42.79 billion (31 December 2010 est.)

Debt - external World Ranking: 34
$158.7 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
$151.8 billion (31 December 2010 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home World Ranking: 43
$80.73 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
$74.13 billion (31 December 2010 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad World Ranking: 33
$55.93 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
$53.43 billion (31 December 2010 est.)

Exchange rates
Emirati dirhams (AED) per US dollar -
3.6725 (2011 est.)
3.6725 (2010 est.)
3.673 (2009)
3.6725 (2008)
3.6725 (2007)

Fiscal year
Calendar year


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United Arab Emirates (Abu Dhabi):
Country Flag
Country Locator

GPS points from United Arab Emirates (Abu Dhabi)

square Jazirat Al Ghallah Umm Al Qaywayn

square `ashsh Abu Zaby

square Tawi Tasharawiyah Umm Al Qaywayn

square Haql Al Bunduq Abu Zaby

square Ramlat Sarami Abu Zaby

square Wadi Qurayyah Al Fujayrah

square Jabal Najdayn United Arab Emirates (general)

square Mehammaliyya Abu Zaby

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