United Arab Emirates - Economic sectors

The UAE is a mixed free-market economy based on oil and natural gas production, and these industries combined take up more than a quarter of UAE gross domestic product (GDP). Over the past 2 decades, the UAE's economic diversification program has led to the rise of several non-oil sectors that now make up a significant percentage of the UAE's GDP: manufacturing (12.6 percent), commerce and hotels (11.4 percent), real estate (9.1 percent), construction (8.6 percent), transportation (7.3 percent), and finance and insurance (6.4 percent). The UAE also has a strong re-export sector. Government services account for nearly 11 percent of GDP. Industrial growth has been assisted by free trade zones, including Jebel Ali in Dubai, which have been magnets for international firms. In recent years Dubai has succeeded in attracting high-profile technology firms to the emirate's "Internet City," including Microsoft, Oracle, Hewlett Packard, and Cisco Systems.

Nonetheless, the health of the UAE's economy as a whole continues to fluctuate with the world price of hydrocarbons

and the economic vitality of its largest trading partners, particularly Japan, which accounts for close to a third of UAE petroleum exports. In part this is due to the large percentage of GDP taken up by petroleum and in part to the fact that government revenues—70 to 80 percent of which come from oil—and spending are closely linked to oil prices. These links have meant that different sectors of the economy have risen rapidly in recent years as oil prices increased sharply after oil prices hit historic lows in 1998. One exception to this trend is the demand for electricity and power: demand for power grew by nearly 400 percent between 1980 and 1998.

Among the most important corporations based in the UAE is the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC). It manages the petroleum and gas extraction operations in Abu Dhabi along with the 2 major petroleum refineries in the UAE. Other key corporations are: Dubai state-owned Dubai Aluminum, a leading supplier of aluminum to the states of the Gulf Cooperation Council; Etisalat, the Abu Dhabi state-owned telecommunications firm; and Emi-rates Airlines, Dubai's state-owned airline. The airline has won a plethora of international "Best Airline" awards and maintains one of the most modern airline fleets in the world. It has outclassed "Gulf Air" (a consortium owned by Abu Dhabi, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman), which remains one of the leading airlines in the Arabian/Persian Gulf region despite experiencing steep losses in the 1990s.

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