The Future of Manufacturing in the U.A.E.

The U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council’s new report on the U.A.E. manufacturing sector underscores how manufacturing has long been a key component of the country’s economic diversification efforts. Moreover, it shows how large government-linked institutions such as Senaat and Mubadala have played an important role in these efforts, alongside private-sector entities such as the U.A.E.’s Al Ghurair Group or the U.S.’s Guardian Industries or McWane.

The report also offers insights into sectors that have either been a focus of U.A.E. manufacturing growth or will be a focus in the future.

  • Metals: Both Abu Dhabi and Dubai have made the manufacture of primary metals and the development of high-value downstream processing sectors a key component of their industrialization strategies. This is epitomized by companies such as Emirates Global Aluminium, Emirates Steel, and Ducab.
  • Building Materials: The U.A.E. as a whole and Ras Al Khaimah in particular feature booming industries for construction-related materials such as cement, ceramics, and glass. Arkan, RAK Ceramics, and Guardian Glass are three brand names in their respective fields.
  • Chemicals: The U.A.E. has an important chemicals sector, centered in Abu Dhabi and epitomized by Borouge – a joint venture between Abu Dhabi National Oil Company and Borealis.
  • Pharmaceuticals:The U.A.E. has a growing domestic pharmaceutical manufacturing industry, marked by partnerships between U.A.E. manufacturers and prominent U.S. pharmaceutical giants such as MSD (as Merck is known outside the United States) and Pfizer.
  • Food and Beverages: The U.A.E. hosts a large  number of food and beverage manufacturers including Agthia, Al Foah, and the local partners of The Coca-Cola Company and PepsiCo.
  • Aerospace and Defense Equipment: The U.A.E. is quickly developing its nascent aerospace and defense industry through companies such as Strata, which produces key components for Boeing aircraft.
The report concludes by examining the U.A.E. manufacturing sector’s prospects. U.A.E.-based industry is poised to capitalize on the country’s strategic location as well as its world-class transportation and industrial infrastructure. It is also set to benefit from relatively low taxes, business-friendly regulations, and the ready availability of energy, goods, and labor. These advantages should help U.A.E.-based manufacturers navigate any potential challenges from lower oil prices, increasing regional competition, persistent foreign dumping, or a rising global wave of protectionism.