An upsurge in business has sharply boosted imports by the UAE over the past few years to turn into the largest market in the Middle East although it has one of the smallest populations in the region.
Official data showed the UAE's imports of goods and services stood at US$256.4 billion in 2011, exceeding imports by all other Arab nations as well as Turkey for the first time. The report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) gave no data for 2012 but analysts believe the UAE maintained its position as the largest regional market after its trade soared to an all-time high last year.
Imports by Turkey stood at US$254 billion in 2011 while those by Saudi Arabia were estimated at around US$198 billion.
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