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Export From India to Dubai: How to Conquer the Dubai Market?


Vijay Kumar

Senior Specialist - Marketing @ Shiprocket

January 3, 2024

8 min read

The United Arab Emirates is known for its wealth, oil wells, gold mines, skyscrapers, and more. It has a very strategic location and forms the perfect market to start product export operations from India. Their extensive road and airway connections strengthen this position. Dubai is rich in metal, gas, gold, and heavy oil. All of these can be named as chief exports to India. Dubai primarily imports products from African regions and Asian regions like India, processes them in their local industries and finally exports them for higher prices.

export from india to dubai

Dubai’s regulations and government policies are extremely supportive of the growth of small and medium businesses. Hence, there is a myriad of investment opportunities, especially for Indians. The UAE is now also offering 100% ownership to all overseas investors, opening up a whole new exporting and importing market for India. 

This blog will detail India’s trade relationship with Dubai and give you a strong insight into what Indian products are in large demand in the UAE to help you create strategic business plans. 

India’s Trade Relationship With UAE

Trade links between the Arab Emirates and India have been centuries old. Back in olden times, trade relations were mainly dominated by the exchange of traditional items like pearls, fish, dates, and so on. With the discovery of heavy oil in abundance in the UAE, oil exported from Abu Dhabi became heavy in demand in 1962. Slowly even the UAE became a unified entity in 1971 and the trade relations between India and UAE only grew. When Dubai positioned itself as the regional trade hub in the later years, the economic liberalization process started in India. 

The commercial and economic relations that the two countries have built over the years have created strength and stability in diversifying and solidifying a bilateral relationship. While striving to strengthen these bonds, the trade between the two countries was valued at approximately 180 million USD per year back in 1971. Today, it accounts for a whopping 50.5 billion USD, making this trade relation the third largest for the UAE. 

In September 2023, India exported over 75000 tonnes of non-basmati rice (white) to the UAE and there is a strong and competitive relationship in the realm of trading rice. The export of Indian products is a testament and validation of the partnership these two countries foster.

There is no availability of the actual figures for the investments made by Indians in the UAE market. However, it seems to be more than 85 billion USD. Several companies have set up manufacturing units as combined ventures or SEZs for building materials, cement, textiles, engineering products, chemicals, electronics, and more. The interest of people investing in the UAE will only grow over the next few years, strengthening the bond between the two nations. 

What are the Indian Products That Have High Market Demand in Dubai?

Indian products enjoy considerable popularity in Dubai due to their affordability and high quality. Among the most in-demand products exported from India to Dubai in substantial quantities are listed below:

  • Automobiles: From Mahindra to Tata Motors and Maruti, India is home to some of the most well-known automobile manufacturers. India is also a major exporter of vehicles. The innovative designs with great mileage and affordability make Indian automobiles so popular in Dubai. The export value of automobiles is 14.5 billion USD. 
  • Petroleum Products: Petroleum products are valued at a strong 61.2 billion USD and India is a supreme exporter of petroleum products. From naphtha, refined petrol, and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), India exports it all. Petrol is also crucial to the energy market as it fuels the world’s desperate need for more electricity production.
  • Jewelry: Indian jewelry designs are extremely popular worldwide. India’s splendid collection of different forms of ornaments in gold, silver, diamonds, and other precious gemstones has a very strong market in the UAE. Jewelry’s export value forms a strong 41.2 billion USD
  • Pharmaceuticals: Medicines from India are exported in large quantities by the UAE. India’s exports cover a wide range of products from generic medicines and drugs to active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), vaccines, and biosimilars. The export value of India’s affordable medicine alternatives is equal to over 11.7 billion USD.
  • Machinery: Durability, quality, and affordability of machines and equipment of Indian make are extremely popular in Dubai. With the increase in demand for machines and the growth of technology in all sectors, Dubai imports around 13.6 billion USD worth of machinery from India. Agricultural and textile machines and industrial and construction equipment are largely exported from India to Dubai. 
  • Bio-chemicals: Valued at a whopping 12 billion dollars, Indian bio-chemical manufacturers are exploring new avenues for the sales of these products. Their applications in sustainable development have also made them very popular. This has increased their demand in Dubai. 
  • Cereals and grains: UAE is often known for its short supply of food grains and hence they import large amounts from different Asian countries. India is their chief exporter of different grains, including wheat, maize, millet, rice, and more. With high nutritional value, Indian grains are extremely in demand in the UAE. They import approximately 10.1 billion USD worth of cereals every year. 
  • Iron and Steel: Importing about 9 billion USD worth of iron and steel from India, Dubai is expanding its industries, making this sector a prime candidate for growth. Around 205 countries export iron and steel from India and Dubai is certainly a major player. 
  • Textile: The unique looming and weaving techniques of India are some things that the world has not seen. Hence, India’s textile industry is largely in demand across the globe. About 9 billion USD worth of textile and handicraft products are exported to Dubai every year.
  • Electronics: The export value of electronics is about 9 billion USD. Indian electronics are known for their efficiency, ease of use, and durability. With new technologies on the rise, this sector is only expanding and the number of exports to Dubai is rapidly growing.

Shiprocket X: Sellers’ Significant Partner for International Shipping

Shiprocket X is a savant in exporting internationally and their strong presence in Dubai and the other parts of the UAE makes them the perfect partner for international shipping. Their unique workflows and management techniques maximize efficiency and always guarantee on-time delivery thereby enhancing consumer satisfaction. While beginning your journey in exporting to Dubai, Shiprocket X plays a key role in the following areas:

  • Deciding on the type of product you choose to export based on the maximum demand
  • Choosing your top hubs for exporting
  • Applying for a trade license and getting the necessary permits
  • Connecting you with the best buyers
  • Staying on top of all the complicated regulatory requirements


There’s immense potential in India’s export sector to capture the lucrative market of Dubai. India with its several competitive advantages, including a skilled workforce, cost-effective production, etc., can establish itself as a key player in Dubai’s imports landscape. However, seizing this opportunity will require a multi-faceted approach. Some proactive strategies include market research and understanding, innovation, product diversification, competitive pricing, leveraging government initiatives, effective marketing and branding, building networks, etc. You can seamlessly export from India to Dubai by continuously adapting to changing market dynamics, thus expanding your economic footprint in the region. 

What documents do I need to export products from India to Dubai?

If you want to export products from India to Dubai, you’ll need some documents. These include the IEC (Import Export Code), airway bill, pro forma invoice, certificates of inspection, product-related documents, and APEDA certificate. Other documents include commercial invoices, bills of lading, purchase and sale contracts, and more.

Do I need special permits or licenses to export products to Dubai?

Exporting goods to Dubai requires special permits and licenses. This includes a trade license specifically mentioning the products you wish to trade, obtainable from the Department of Economic Development (DED). You’ll also need other licenses and permits depending on the products you are exporting.

Are there any restrictions on the types of products that can be exported to Dubai?

There are some restrictions on exporting some products to Dubai. These are prohibited goods, including narcotic drugs, gambling tools, nylon fishing nets, live swine, e-cigarettes, electronic hookah, paan and betel leaves, radioactive substances, and other products that contradict the religious faith of the country. 

What are the customs duties on exports to Dubai? 

The India-UAE Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) grants duty-free access to nearly 90% of Indian goods entering Dubai. However, specific customs duties still apply to certain products. To ensure proper import procedures, research the applicable customs duties for your intended exports before shipping.

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