Rehabilitation & organization of Yemen foreign trade [Archives:2005/876/Business & Economy]

September 12 2005

Mahyoub Al-Kamaly
Specialists say Yemeni foreign trade sector needs rectification, organization and rehabilitation of its productive components in order to develop non-oil exports and increase the volume of national income revenues. They add that Yemeni trade sector occupies a major space in the national economy and closely connected to development and evolvement of its various sectors and therefore, it contributes greatly in the growth of the national product and income as well as in increasing employment. This sector's contribution in the gross domestic product amounts to around 11.5% while the number of those working n this field (wholesale and retail sale trade) are estimated at 398 thousands representing about 9.7% of the total persons working in the national economy field.

The trade sector has witnessed a great growth in the number of and categories of trading companies and branches of foreign companies. The external trade has on its part also seen quantitative and qualitative developments during the pas ten years with regard to growth in the volume and value of imports and exports, development of economic and trade relations between Yemen and different countries of he world as well as in the phenomenon of policies and measures the government offers in the area of economic reform and liberation of trade. Examples are the cancellation of import and export licenses, simplification of procedures, and realization of transparency and liberation of prices.

There has been also provision of legal environment serving development of the market mechanism, freedom of competition and prevention of monopoly. That has been achieved after the issuance of a group of legislations organizing the trade activity on new foundations in a way serving the producer and the consumer, to increase trading efficiency and prepare the road for Yemen's accession to the World Trade Organization. In this regard, the government has founded a bureau for communication and coordination and a national committee for preparation and negotiation with the WTO; especially that Yemen is prepared to submit the request for joining the WTO to acquire full membership after it had already obtained the status of observer in April 1999.

Statements of external trade and balance of trade reflect the extent of development in foreign trade in the past period. Statements and statistics of the main imported goods as wheat, sugar, medicines, wheat four, oils, powder milk, rice, poultry, cows, tobacco, in addition to automobiles, lubricant greases, tools and equipment, as well as other consumer and productive commodities, reflect the volume of foreign trade.

As for exported goods, oil occupies the first place, followed by fish, coffee, leather, cotton, salt, beverages, mineral waters, cigarettes, biscuits and juices and others.

China, Thailand, Korea, Singapore and India represent the significant trading partners for Yemeni exports; the UAE, Saudi Arabia, the United States, Kuwait and Australia are the bigger exporters to Yemen. Nevertheless, Yemeni businessmen and tradesmen believe that Yemeni external trade sector is in need of more support and organization to achieve more growth and realization of productive rates that develop exports. This also requires re-diversification of production process on studied economic bases leading to doubling Yemeni exports abroad.