Saudi Arabia proved itself as Japan’s foremost trading partner among the GCC states in 1999, surpassing the United Arab Emirates, according to Japan’s External Trade Organization (JETRO). Saudi trade with Japan totaled $11.7 billion in 1999, while trade between Japan and the UAE stood at $11.4 billion during the same period. Indeed, with the exception of Bahrain, Japanese trade volumes with each Gulf nation improved during 1999.
Rising oil prices were responsible for a 4.6 percent increase in overall Japanese trade with the Gulf states in 1999, which equaled $33.2 billion in 1999. Total exports from the Gulf to Japan rose by 17 percent to $25.59 billion, up from $21.9 billion in 1998, Gulf News reported. Crude oil exports comprised almost three-quarters of those exports.
The second largest import commodity was aluminum, coming mostly from the UAE and Bahrain. Nonetheless, overall Japanese imports of aluminum from the Gulf declined 36.5 percent to $200 million, from $315.5 million in 1998.
Saudi Arabia imported $3.31 billion worth of Japanese-made goods in 1999, making in Japan’s large Gulf client, reported JETRO. This represented a decrease of 16.7 percent from the $3.97 billion worth of imports reported in 1998. In second place was the UAE, which took in $2.52 billion worth of Japanese goods, 12 percent below the $2.85 billion worth it imported in 1998.
Japanese exports to Kuwait equaled $701 million, compared to $1.18 billion in 1998. Oman and Qatar took in $670 million and $225 million worth of Japanese goods respectively.
JETRO’s report indicated a substantial increase in the Gulf states’ demand for Japanese video cameras, metal and rubber products, portable electrical lamps and automobile engines in 1999. At the same time, there was a noticeable fall in demand for electrical machinery, transport equipment and textiles. – (Albawaba-MEBG)