Import and Export Business Opportunities in Dubai

Arwa Al Yassin

Arwa Al Yassin

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Dubai is home to a diversified economy that has been practicing trade from ages. Garnering global attention with its abundant natural resource reserves, the flourishing emirate of Dubai has gone ahead and positioned itself as a predominantly non-oil based economy since the discovery of oil reserves in the late 1950’s. Oil production, which once accounted for 50% of Dubai’s gross domestic product (GDP), contributes less than 1% as of today. Throughout decades of maturing transport hubs and strategically orchestrated value chains — Dubai has opened up remarkable opportunities for the trade of non-oil products and a plethora of other commodities like vehicles, crypto currency,  aluminum, gold, precious stones and base metals.

Dubai’s favourable geographic location, taxing policies and business climate are some of the factors that have helped in positioning the emirate as one of the most sought-after locations for you to grab business opportunities through trade.

According to the Economic Complexity Index, Dubai ranks as number 24 in exports and number 22 in imports, making it one of the wealthiest of the seven emirates. The International Herald Tribune has described it as a “centrally-planned free-market capitalism” and this statement  is supported with the ever-growing commercial opportunities becoming abundant through free zone expansions and supply chain development.

If you wish to run an export-import business in Dubai, read the following article to explore business opportunities and better understand the factors responsible for growth.

What Are Dubai’s Main Exports And Imports?

The import and export business in Dubai has always been facilitated for growth with its initial focus on crude oil and natural gas. Over the decades, Dubai’s economy gradually moved away from only oil-based exports and rather strengthened its portfolio with a wide variety of metals like aluminium, gold, diamond, and copper along with other commodities. Sound decision-making regarding the market structure, market potential and demand of the country being exported to, helped the emirate to gain momentum in the non-oil trade. Now Dubai trades with the whole world and when it comes to its well- established export destinations, Saudi Arabia, India, China and Switzerland lead amongst many others.

Imports on the other hand, consist of machinery, chemicals, footwear, minerals and automobiles. With metals and textiles being two of the country’s main imports, China, India, Japan and the United States remain as its biggest import markets. Considering how Dubai is a hub for exceptional talent, technology, automobiles and delicious food, it’s evident that imported commodities highly contribute to its great economic growth.


Dubai's main imports and exports

Dubai As A Primary Location For Business Setup

Before establishing an import or export business in Dubai, it’s necessary to understand why the country boasts of an abundance of opportunities to create the perfect entrepreneurial journey. One of the main reasons is that the government and regulatory environment take measures to ensure that there’s adequate flexibility for growth that facilitates ease of business. For example, operating your import-export business in Dubai would incur lesser costs as the country has some of the lowest corporate and personal tax rates in the world. On top of that, if a business decides to locate its offices in an economic jurisdiction like the Meydan Free Zone, it will not have to pay import taxes. This will only enhance and not limit the scope of profit-making capabilities.

With Dubai being located in the central part of the world, having easy access to regional markets is a great advantage for an import/export business. A diverse yet cohesive hospitality and transport infrastructure is readily available to assist the transfer of commodities in and out of Dubai. Especially with free zone benefits, all you need to do is follow up with the relevant authorities and obtain your trading license to seamlessly commence your business activity.

Things To Consider Before Starting An Import-Export Business In Dubai

Import and Export business in Dubai

Whether you want to import dairy products or clothing or even export gold, an import-export trading license is needed to start your business. Depending on whether you choose to start your business in mainland Dubai or a free zone like Meydan, contact the relevant authority of the free zone or the Department of Economic Development (DED) to go ahead with your business setup procedure.


  • Understanding custom requirements :

The growth opportunities posed by establishing your business in Dubai are plenty. Although, to avoid future challenges, it’s important to be aware of UAE’s customs requirements along with the regulations of the country which the goods are being shipped to. There may be even specific requirements for certain goods like medical goods which you need to be aware of. With a lot of commodities being involved, strict regulations being involved is not a surprise. For that reason, conduct precise research and contact company formation experts like Meydan Free Zone to guide you through the business setup procedure.

  • Conduct market research :

To commence any import-export activity in the UAE, it’s important to be thorough with the export and import regime, to ascertain which countries have the best market potential, understand market trends and prospective buyers. As a business, conducting market research to see market  compatibility would result in great findings. For example, looking for options like Flexi-Desks could result in lower workplace costs, reducing overheads.

  • Licensing and documentation :

Gather knowledge on stages of your application process to procure a valid trade license in order to get started easily. Free Zone authorities like Meydan help compile all necessary documents and get rid of unnecessary clutter that you don’t require. From deciding your business activity, choosing an appropriate trading name, your business location and fee payment, to successfully opening a bank account — our services are open to providing you with all the support you need. Make sure you have a copy of your license once you receive it and note that you need to obtain your visa. Read more to know about import and export license requirements.


Profitable Import-Export Business Opportunities In UAE

The import and export business investments shape Dubai’s economy in a stable manner. If you are a start-up import-export business, pay attention to arising opportunities due to attractive factors like the flexible tax policies and infrastructure.

  1. Art Exports
    If creating art or simply appreciating art is an activity that you think would be a great idea for a business venture, don’t hesitate to delve into art exportation in Dubai. The emirate exudes luxury and welcomes the exotic due to its flair for the finer standard of living. So, choosing international art trading could generate profits generously. Even with the imposition of tax on fine art, the potential for higher sales is great because of the demand for luxurious and aesthetic commodities.
  2. Vehicle Exports
    The automotive industry is a pivot for growth in Dubai, and with future-proof technology and infrastructure, collaboration and innovation in this sector never fails to impress. The industry offers growth in import business as much as it does for exporting vehicles of all sorts. With popular car brands like Rolls-Royce and Lamborghini being widely sold in Dubai, targeting market segments that consist of elites would generate a lot of sales. Import and export businesses in Dubai are also no strangers to catering to niches. If trading vehicles isn’t an appealing business initiative, resorting to export/import auto parts like tools could help fuel the passion of vehicle enthusiasts in Dubai.
  3. Electronics Supplier
    With technology always being at the forefront of demand; fuses, keynuts, power wires, capacitors, computer accessories, and keypads of all sorts create opportunities for trading in bulk. Whilst Dubai is a bustling tech district, trading electrical appliances like cookers, ovens, smart watches, smartphones and technology-driven devices could open up many possibilities for growth in surrounding regions.
  4. Precious Metals
    Growing potential for export business in Dubai mainly lies in its lining of precious metals that contain gold, silver and copper. Metals, gems and precious stone jewelry are in demand globally, and with the right marketing plan and efforts, exploring the underdeveloped markets could be helpful. Businesses in Dubai should also strive to create a sense of loyalty among suppliers, distributors and customers in order to attract repetitive purchases. Our highly experienced consultants at Meydan Free Zone can assist you through every aspect of your business setup in order for you to focus on formulating your business strategy while we handle the formalities and the paperwork involved.


Why Meydan Free Zone?

Opening up your import-export business in the heart of Dubai can introduce you to infrastructure facilities, healthy competition, gorgeous views and excellent business networks. Starting a business or trade requires streamlined processes and optimal efficiency. With the Meydan Free Zone, digitised platforms like Meydan Pay for instance, could help process international transactions faster. Even with getting your business up and running, Meydan offers a seamless licensing process whilst helping you throughout every stage of the process.

For anyone who wants to boost their business launch, the following benefits help you design your plan to suit a trade-friendly business environment –

  • 100% foreign ownership
  • Tax-friendly policies
  • Low-cost setup
  • No currency restrictions
  • Surrounding facilitating  infrastructure and amenities

Setting up your import-export business in an environment such as Meydan Free Zone opens up a fantastic opportunity of growth for your entrepreneurial ambitions. If you are ready to give wings to your business idea, choose Meydan Free Zone.

Start your business with Meydan Free Zone

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