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Wed 21 Nov 2018 10:11 AM

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UAE should be exempt from US tariffs, says minister of economy

The Gulf country represents one of the top largest exporters of the metals to the US

UAE should be exempt from US tariffs, says minister of economy
Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri said the US Secretary of Commerce.

The UAE should and could be exempt from US tariffs on aluminium and steel by next year, according to the UAE’s Minister of Economy, as it represents one of the United States’ top largest exporters of the metals.

Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri said the US Secretary of Commerce, Willbur Ross, is examining the tariffs currently imposed by the US on imports from the UAE.

Earlier this year, President Donald Trump imposed a 10 percent levy on aluminium imports as part of measures designed to protect US industries.

However, Al Mansouri told local media, "I hope next year we will resolve it. We will continue to explain our case.”

The UAE exports around 0.29 million metric tonnes of steel to the US every year. In the first 10 months of 2017, it also exported 569,405 metric tonnes of aluminium, becoming the third largest exporter after Canada and Russia.

Joint trade between the UAE and the US totalled $24.5 billion (AED90bn) in 2017, with the US trade surplus amounting to $15.7bn (AED57.62bn).

According to Juma Al Kait, assistant undersecretary for foreign trade affairs at the UAE Economy Ministry, the UAE has a ‘strong case to be exempt’ as demand in the US is high for quality aluminium.

Trump has been imposing tariffs on imports from foreign countries such as China, a move that is expected to result in a global economic slowdown. Monica Malik, chief economist at Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, said deepening trade tensions between the US and China remain a risk for the UAE's non-oil sector in 2019.

Ehsan Khoman, head of research and strategist for Mena at Japanese bank MUFG, said the GCC will indirectly be affected by the policies, while Vijay Valecha, chief market analyst at Century Financial, said solutions for regional governments include relaxing taxes on businesses, directing the economy towards Asia and moving to a forex system where the value of GCC currencies are determined by the market.

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