Between 1998 and 2001, the GCC countries recorded a
cumulative surplus in their trade of goods with Japan of around $96
billion and the figure is expected to exceed $120 billion by the end of
this year, according to official figures.
Statistics by the Japanese External Trade
Organisation (Jetro) showed the GCC enjoyed its highest trade surplus
with Japan in 2000, when it stood at around $34.9 billion because of a
surge in exports due to a sharp increase in oil prices.
In contrast, the GCC suffered a $6.5 billion deficit
in its trade with the EU in 2000 while the surplus with the U.S. has
While the six members have reported a persistent
surplus with Japan over the past two decades, their previous surplus
with the EU has turned into a deficit because of volatile crude prices,
higher EU exports and trade barriers against Gulf exports.
Despite a $4 decline in oil prices in 2001, the GCC's
trade balance with Japan remained as high as $30.3 billion and it is
expected to be between $25-$30 billion this year.
The GCC's total exports to Japan stood at $38.5
billion in 2001 while their imports were around $8.2 billion. Oil and
gas account for the bulk of Japan's imports from the GCC while exports
cover mainly vehicles, electronics, machinery and equipment.
Japan is the top importer of Gulf oil, receiving more
than 70 per cent of its total crude needs. It has also boosted imports
of liquefied natural gas from the UAE and the two other main Gulf LNG
plants in Qatar and Oman.
UAE GARMENT UNITS 'SHOULD DEVELOP BRANDS'
Only high value-added manufacturers who can take
advantage of the quality infrastructure can survive in the medium term,
according to Emirates Industrial Bank (EIB) in its outlook for the local
"Those countries which are manufacturing purely
on the basis of quota allocations will face a very challenging situation
in three years. This is true for all the GCC countries currently engaged
in garment manufacture," the report added.
Quotas, under which a particular country can export
garments to the U.S., are to be fully dismantled in 2005.
In the interim, Jordan continues to benefit from the
preferential treatment meted out by the U.S. Exports from there are
exempt from any duties.
"Some of the manufacturers in the GCC are likely
to relocate to Jordan as is already happening and some may move to the
source of labour," according to the report.
In 2001, the UAE's garment exports recovered slightly
to $185 million from a low of $160 million in 2000. But they continue to
be a long way from the peak of $250 million in 1997.
"A major reason for the slump is the slowdown in
the U.S. economy and falling demand from West Europe. The other reason
has been the migration of the industry to other locations within the
region, namely in the Gulf and other Arab states," the EIB study
"The initial decline may have been caused by the
substitution of low value-added garments by high value-added ones, but
this is no longer the cause of the decline.
The current downturn is part of a global phenomenon
where garment exports of several countries have suffered because of a
GCC TO HAVE LARGEST OUTPUT OF ALUMINIUM
With the remarkable development of the Gulf aluminium
industry during the last few decades, the GCC is expected to be one of
the largest producers of aluminium products in the world within the next
six years, said an Emirates Industrial Bank report.
This important industry started 30 years ago, with an
aluminium factory in Bahrain, Alba, with an annual capacity of 150,000
tonnes, followed by another factory in Dubai (Dubal) with a similar
capacity, the report said.
Both factories have continued to expand over the past
three decades, with the production capacity multiplying to reach one
million tonnes every year in recent times, with this figure equally
divided between Alba and Dubal.
This year, both Dubal and Alba have announced that
they will implement new expansion, which will increase Gulf production
by 39 per cent to 1.46 million tonnes by 2006, compared with 1.05
million tonnes now.
Such an increase includes Alba's share of 46 per cent
to 750,000 tonnes by 2006 compared with 514,00 tonnes this year.
SAUDI GAS DEAL 'STALLED AGAIN'
A landmark $25bn (£16.1bn) gas deal between Saudi
Arabia and western energy firms is reportedly facing yet more delays.
The deal represents the first major foreign
investment in the Saudi energy sector since it was nationalized in 1975.
But the conditions of the agreement have been fought
over since it was first agreed in June 2001.
Saudi Arabia has reportedly put last-ditch
concessions on the table in the hope of averting the collapse of
But the western firms are now thought to be unable to
meet an October deadline, saying they need more time to examine Saudi's
One local newspaper report suggested that firms would
be given an extra month's leeway.
S. ARABIA, RUSSIA, IRAN FLAY US OVER AL QUDS
Saudi Arabia, Iran and Russia on Wednesday condemned
a US congressional bill recognizing Israeli-occupied Al Quds as the
Jewish state's capital as contravening international law and UN Security
The Saudi Press Agency quoted a spokesman as saying
that the bill is "in contradiction with US policy" in the
Saudi Arabia "followed with deep concern and
discomfort the news about the bill issued by the US Congress ... which
recognizes Jerusalem (Al Quds) " as Israel's capital, the spokesman
The kingdom "sees this decision as contravening
international law and violating security council resolutions, including
Resolutions 252 of 1968 and 267 of 1969 ... which call for reversing all
measures that could change the status quo in Jerusalem," the
GULF FURNITURE IMPORTS CLIMB TO $2.8B
Annual imports of furniture and interior products to
the Gulf rose to $2.8 billion in 2001 and are poised for a further
growth as the trend shows, industry officials at a specialised interior
and furnishing exhibition, said.
Index 2002, the 12th version of the region's largest
furnishing and interiors exhibition, was opened at the Dubai
International Exhibition Centre (DIEC) by General Sheikh Mohammed bin
Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and the UAE Defence Minister.
"The latest information, drawn from trade
statistics and estimates issued by individual countries, puts the
region's furniture and interiors products imports at $2.8 billion last
"We have seen a 10 per cent increase in
furniture and interiors products imported into the Gulf for 2000 with a
further 6 per cent rise in 2001," said Joe Berger, commercial
director of dmg Index Exhibitions.
A US Congress bill demanding the American embassy in
Israel be moved from Tel Aviv to occupied Al Quds will only heighten
Muslim resentment, the Organization of the Islamic Conference warned on
MANY UAE BANKS LAGGING BEHIND IN EMIRATISATION
The UAE has made headway in its ongoing campaign to
find jobs for nationals in its fast-growing banking sector, but more
measures are needed to ensure all banks comply with the employment ratio
set by the federal cabinet.
A survey conducted recently by the Ministry of Labour
and Social Affairs showed the number of UAE nationals working in the
country's 47 banks more than doubled to around 2,988 at the end of 2001
from 1,278 at the end of 1995.
INVESTORS FLOCK TO MEADOWS OFFERING
Emaar Properties said the latest release of its
premium villa project, The Meadows, has met with tremendous investor
Bookings are open to UAE and GCC residents at the
Dubai Marina sales centre, seven days a week, from 10 am to 8 pm. The
opening phase was launched in June.
Two contracts signed by BP Marine recently have
lifted the sales in Oman's refuelling operation in the southerly port of
Salalah to around 35,000 tonnes a month from October.
However, the bunkering service, which began in
mid-February, is expected to receive a further boost when it resumes
supplying fuel at anchorage this month.
AN AMBITIOUS PLAN TO REVAMP OIL INDUSTRY
Bahrain authorities seem determined to overhaul the
petroleum sector as part of wider efforts to boost economic development,
which plays a vital role in the economy. In 2001, it accounted for 71
per cent of state income, 73 per cent of exports and 17.2 per cent of
Against this backdrop, the government is pushing for
a series of projects in the petroleum sector.
Bahrain's oil production and reserves are relatively
small. Production from the country's only onshore oil field of Awali
amounted to around 37,500 barrels per day in 2001. Total reserves are
estimated at 130 million barrels, expected to last until 2013 at current
ISRAEL 'REHEARSES ARAFAT'S EXPULSION'
The Israeli military has been practising a military
operation to seize Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and fly him into
exile, reports say.
Israeli security forces have confirmed the news,
first reported in Israel's Maariv newspaper, to international news
Some members of the Israeli cabinet are known to be
in favour of expelling Mr Arafat but have faced opposition from other
ministers, the military and the United States.
Troops continue to be stationed around Mr Arafat's
compound in the West Bank city of Ramallah after an operation last month
in which they destroyed nearly all the buildings there.
Emirates will fly to three more countries by the end
of the year, adding Russia, China and the U.S. to the 45 countries it
SULTAN FOR MORE COUNCILS
His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi,
Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, called for the
formation of consultative councils throughout the country.
OMAN HAILS GCC PLEDGE ON JOBS
Juma'ah bin Ali bin Juma'ah, Oman's Minister of
Manpower, praised the GCC Supreme Council's resolutions on efforts to
provide jobs to nationals and facilitate labour movement in the GCC
He was speaking at the opening of the 19th session of
the GCC Labour and Social Affairs Ministerial Council, held at Al Bustan
ANGER SWELLS IN ARAB
The new U.S. law that requires the Bush
administration to recognise Occupied Jerusalem as the capital of Israel
has evoked public anger and criticism throughout the Arab countries.
A survey conducted by Gulf News in various Arab
countries showed that the new law mirrors the U.S. bias towards Israel
and an indication of a new trend in the American policy that ignores
MORE NATIONALS IN BANKING SECTOR
Of a total 135 more employees employed by the banking
sector in the first half this year, an overwhelming 126 were UAE
Data released by Ahmed Humaid Al Tayer, Minister of
Communications, and head of the Human Resources Development Committee of
the Banking Sector, showed the number of nationals employed in the
commercial banking sector had jumped 4.22 per cent
RESEARCH AND THINK TANKS SHOULD BE ENCOURAGED
One of the most important factors for positive and
long lasting change is the encouragement of think tanks that engage in
research and analysis.
The independence and depth of analysis that these
organisations bring is always a huge resource to the policy planning
process, ranging from politics, foreign policy, and economic and
financial policy down to social strategies for change.
DUCAB COMPLETES DH120M EXPANSION
Ducab has completed a Dh120 million expansion to
upgrade the manufacturing capability of its two medium voltage (MV)
The upgrade of the second manufacturing line —
installed in 2001 and devoted solely to the manufacturing of 11kV and
33kV cables — has resulted in doubling Ducab's capacity for medium
E-GATE PROJECT GETS RESPONSE
The e-Gate, launched by the Dubai Naturalisation and
Residency Department (DNRD) at the Dubai International Airport, in
association with the Dubai Department of Civil Aviation, has drawn an
enthusiastic response from frequent travellers.
More than 2,500 people have completed the
registration process for the smart card since the service was introduced
FUJAIRAH AUTUMN FAIR 2002 OPENS
Fujairah Autumn Fair 2002 was officially opened by
Sheikh Hamad bin Saif Al Sharqi, Deputy Ruler of Fujairah.
The international consumer fair, which runs until
October 18, is the biggest to date in the emirate, with 114 exhibitors
from over 12 countries in the region.
The event is being staged for the first time by the
Fujairah Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture, in partnership
with the Fujairah Exhibition Centre.