Dubai has been eyeing the Latin American markets for new trade and investment opportunities, with the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry already opening a representative office in Sao Paulo in early 2017 and one in Argentina is scheduled for this year. Additionally, Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA) announced on February 24 that the Emirates Argentina Business Platform was to open an office on its premises.
Dubai Chamber president and CEO Hamad Bu Amim told local UAE newspaper Gulf News in August last year that there is "a lot of room" for Latin America to "enhance collaboration with the UAE on food security" as it is home to the world's leading agricultural producers and exporters.
The United Arab Emirates bought 2.2 billion dirhams ($600 million) of food, around 7.2 percent of all its food imports, from Latin America's three biggest economies in the first half of 2017, according to Salaam Gateway calculations of the most recent data published by UAE's Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Authority.
81 percent, or 1.78 billion dirhams, of all UAE's food imports from Latin America's three biggest economies came from Brazil.
The biggest of UAE's food imports from Brazil, Mexico and Argentina in the first half of 2017 was live animals and their products. UAE bought a total of 1.3 billion dirhams worth of this category, almost all of which came from Brazil.
Together, Brazil, Mexico and Argentina accounted for 17.1 percent of UAE's total imports of live animals and their products from the world in the first half of 2017.
There are no official breakdowns of how much of this amount is halal but considering the meat and food import requirements of the UAE, whereby animal fats and ingredients should be sourced from animals that are halal and non-halal meats and ingredients are restricted, we make the assumption that a significant proportion of all UAE's food imports are halal.
($1 = 3.67 Emirati dirhams)