The UAE has an open trade regime with low tariffs and few non-tariff barriers, according to the World Trade Organization. Trade barriers include tariffs (see the separate section on import tariffs) and non-tariff barriers.
The U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) National Trade Estimate Report on Foreign Trade Barriers (NTE) is an annual series that surveys significant foreign barriers to U.S. exports. The report provides, where feasible, quantitative estimates of the impact of these foreign practices on the value of U.S. exports. Information is also included on actions taken to eliminate barriers.
Web link to USTR reports: https://ustr.gov/about-us/policy-offices/press-office/reports-and-publications
Web link to 2022 National Trade Estimate Report.
USTR discusses several points about non-tariff barriers in the National Trade Estimate, including:
- Import licensing.
- Documentation requirements.
- Government procurement.
- Intellectual property rights.
- Agent and distributor roles.
- Services barriers in industries including insurance, banking, telecommunications, and transportation.
Agent and Distributor Roles
It remains difficult to sell products in the UAE without a local agent. It is important to conduct thorough due diligence on prospective commercial agents and to carefully draft agreements to ensure compliance with the provisions of the Commercial Agency Law. Consulting with a competent legal advisor is highly recommended to assist with agreements, contracts, and legal matters.