The UAE announced that from January 2, 2011 all Canadian visitors to the UAE will have to apply for a visa, a move which some Canadian business owners said will put firms at a disadvantage to their competitors in Europe, who are able to travel freely.
The move is the latest step in the escalation of deteriorating relationships between Canada and the UAE. Last month, Canada refused to grant UAE carriers Emirates and Etihad further landing rights in Canada, whilst the UAE reciprocated by closing down a Canadian military base in Dubai.
November 10, 2010
Analysis and Forecast: Increasing Risk
The move is particularly worrying to Canadian businesses in the UAE, as well as UAE businesses with Canadian links. The UAE is Canada's largest export market in the Middle East and North Africa. Canada exports over US$ 1 billion to the UAE annually, whilst the UAE exports about a tenth of this amount. There are also over 30,000 Canadians living in the UAE, as well as many more dual nationals, particularly from Arab countries.
The worsening of relationships between Canada and the UAE will undoubtedly damage businesses involved in trade between the two countries, and it is likely that Canadian business will suffer more. Furthermore, Canadian expatriates in the UAE have expressed concern about the deteriorating relationship.