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The Manufacturing Industry in the UAE sector is multifaceted and covers vital areas like chemicals, rubber, plastics, metals, and food production. It plays a pivotal role in the country’s GDP.

The chemicals, rubber, and plastics sectors are essential to the UAE’s manufacturing value. With ambitions to amplify its petrochemical capacity, the UAE is keen to boost this sector, with Dubai housing many plastic manufacturing facilities.

Metals manufacturing is also a substantial contributor to the UAE’s manufacturing landscape. The market for metal fabrication equipment will see steady growth in the coming years. Notably, the UAE stands as one of the prominent global aluminium producers.

The food manufacturing sector is another cornerstone of the UAE’s manufacturing industry. The country has many food and beverage manufacturing establishments, drawing in substantial investments.

In this blog post, Shuraa Business Setup will explore the various sides of the UAE’s manufacturing industry.

Manufacturing Industry in UAE

Key Sectors Powering Dubai’s Manufacturing Success

Dubai’s manufacturing scene is alive and buzzing, thanks to various key industries driving its growth. For instance, the chemicals, rubber, and plastics sector play a crucial role by adding a significant chunk to the country’s manufacturing value. It’s fascinating to see Dubai turning into a bustling hub for plastic manufacturing, showcasing the sector’s vitality and growth.

Then there’s metals manufacturing, which is an absolute powerhouse. The UAE has earned its stripes as a top global producer of aluminium. With the metal fabrication equipment market on the upswing, there’s a lot of excitement and potential in this area.

Let’s remember the food manufacturing sector, the true heart and soul of the UAE’s manufacturing landscape. With so many food and beverage manufacturing units, it’s no wonder this sector is attracting significant investments. It speaks to its importance and the love people have for good food!

These key industries are more than just sectors; they’re the beating heart of Dubai’s manufacturing industry. Each adds flavour to the mix and is vital to the city’s growth and success.

Contribution to the UAE Economy

Manufacturing Industry in UAE isn’t just a sector—it’s a vital part of the country’s heartbeat, pumping life into its economy. It’s fantastic that manufacturing is the third-largest contributor to the nation’s nominal GDP behind mining, retail, and wholesale trade. In 2023, manufacturing made up almost 10% of the UAE’s GDP, which is no small feat!

While Dubai and Abu Dhabi might have a slightly smaller slice of this manufacturing pie, other Emirates like Ras Al Khaimah and Sharjah step in to boost the numbers with their solid industrial bases. It’s a team effort that makes the UAE’s manufacturing story compelling.

Speaking of stories, let’s talk about Operation 300bn, the UAE’s ambitious vision for its manufacturing future, announced in March 2021. Led by the Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology (MoIAT), this 10-year plan aims to increase the industrial sector’s contribution—from USD 36.2 billion to a whopping USD 81.7 billion by 2031. And it’s not just about big numbers; the strategy focuses on nurturing key sub-sectors like food, beverage and pharmaceuticals, showing a thoughtful approach to growth.

So, when we talk about manufacturing in the UAE, we’re not just about statistics but about a thriving community, innovative ideas, and a bright future.

Dubai’s Manufacturing

Dubai’s manufacturing scene is buzzing with energy! While the UAE’s manufacturing real GDP soared by 8.75% in 2022—way above the 2.8% average from 2017 to 2019—Dubai’s growth was a bit steadier at 0.26%. Sure, it’s a modest climb compared to earlier years, but there’s still plenty of excitement in the air. 

Despite some ups and downs since 2013, the outlook is sunny. All manufacturing sub-sectors are gearing up for growth. Take the food and beverage sector, for instance—it’s set to nearly triple in value by 2031, highlighting its growing importance to the UAE’s global trade. 

Regarding global trade, the operation 300bn strategy makes UAE exports more competitive. Dubai’s exports are diverse and vibrant, from pearls and precious metals to rubber, plastics, and food. 

Investment-wise, we’re talking big numbers—around USD 9.7 billion in planned or ongoing projects. The ‘other manufacturing’ sector is leading the charge, but there’s also a noticeable boost in funding for food and beverage, aligning with Operation 300bn’s focus. 

The Emirates Development Bank also contributes USD 8.17 billion to support the sector’s growth, aiming to assist around 13,500 SMEs. Manufacturing is unique in Dubai’s economic heart, and the future looks promising! 

Top Manufacturing Industry in UAE

The Top Manufacturing Industry in Dubai are as follows: 


Dubai’s not just a city of skyscrapers; it’s also a hotspot for plastic manufacturing! Thanks to its strategic location and top-notch infrastructure, Dubai has become a go-to hub for producing and exporting plastic goods. With plenty of raw materials and a business-friendly vibe that encourages investment, the plastic industry here is all about pushing boundaries and sparking innovation.


Dubai’s chemical industry covers everything from simple substances to intricate compounds. What sets our manufacturers apart is their commitment to international standards and quality. Whether for construction, pharmaceuticals, or agriculture, you can trust Dubai-made chemicals to be top-notch and reliable.


Rubber manufacturing is more than just a sector; it’s an essential thread in Dubai’s industrial fabric. With growing demand from industries like automotive and construction, our local producers are stepping up their game. By embracing the latest technologies, they’re not just keeping pace—they’re setting it, making Dubai a force to be reckoned with in the global rubber scene.


Dubai’s metal manufacturers have it all: Aluminium, steel, and steel. Serving diverse sectors, from construction to aerospace, they benefit from Dubai’s stellar logistics and transportation network. That means efficient distribution to our neighbours or halfway around the world.


Let’s talk food! Companies like Global Food Industries and Al Islami Foods are making waves here. Take Global Food Industries, for example. Part of the Albatha Group since ’92, they’ve been bringing us tasty, Halal frozen foods from their base in Sharjah. Brands like Healthy Farm, Al Areesh, and Arctic Gold offer everything from seafood to veggies in the UAE and beyond. The next time you’re enjoying a meal, it might be a taste of Dubai’s manufacturing excellence!

Starting a Manufacturing Industry in Dubai

To start a manufacturing Industry in Dubai, you must follow the basic steps given below:

Pick the Perfect Name

First, choose a catchy name for your company compliant with UAE’s naming rules. Your name should represent your business and resonate with the local culture. So, let’s keep it respectful and steer clear of anything that might raise eyebrows!

Get Your Trade License

Once you’ve sorted your name, it’s time to get a trade license. This is your golden ticket to manufacturing in Dubai! The type of license you’ll need can vary depending on where you set up shop—in Dubai or one of its free zones. But don’t worry—these licenses cover many manufacturing activities, ensuring you’re all set to thrive in Dubai’s vibrant industrial scene.

Sort Out Your Visa

You can only run a business if you are there, right? So, you’ll need a visa to operate in Dubai. The Green visa is an excellent option for investors like you keen to contribute to the UAE’s economy. It even offers a more prolonged stay compared to other residence visas. Ensure you’ve got all your investment proofs and the nod from the ICP and local authorities, and you’re good to go!

Open Your Corporate Bank Account

Lastly, it’s time to open a corporate bank account. This isn’t just about keeping your money safe—it’s about managing your finances like a pro! With a local bank account, you’ll be all set to receive payments and handle expenses smoothly in Dubai’s bustling business landscape.

And there you have it—four straightforward steps to kickstart your manufacturing dream in Dubai. Are you ready to make it happen?

Cost of a manufacturing license in Dubai

The cost of Getting a manufacturing license in Dubai starts at around USD 3,760*. Think of it as your ticket to the UAE’s bustling manufacturing scene. It’s an initial investment that opens doors to opportunities in the UAE’s vibrant industrial landscape. Ready to take the plunge? 

Documents required to open a manufacturing company in Dubai

To set up your manufacturing company in Dubai, you’ll need a solid stack of documents. It’s all about making sure everything’s in shape right from the start. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A detailed factory report covering
  • Factory layout
  • Machinery details
  • Production costs
  • Funding sources

Remember, you’ll also need the green light from the Ministry of Health, Environment, and Water. They’ll ensure you meet UAE health, safety, and environmental standards. So, gather up those papers and start this exciting journey!

What You Can Do with a Manufacturing License in Dubai

So, you’ve got your manufacturing license from the Department of Economic Development (DED) in Dubai—great move! This little piece of paper opens up possibilities for your business and helps enrich the emirate’s diverse economic tapestry. 

What can you do with this licence? Well, the sky’s the limit! Here’s a taste of the wide range of activities you’re permitted to engage in: 

  • Making Appliances and Machinery 
  • Crafting Bags, Shoes, and Leather Goods 
  • Working with Blocks and Building Stones 
  • Creating Carpets and Mats 
  • Producing Coatings, Insulations, Seals, and Protective Materials 
  • Manufacturing Equipment and Engines
  • Delving into Food Industries and Food Packaging 
  • Crafting Glassware and Chinaware 
  • Cutting Gold and Precious Stones 
  • Building and Maintaining Light Aircraft 
  • Making Lighting Equipment 
  • Producing Chemicals 
  • Processing Meat 
  • Manufacturing Medicines 
  • Creating Metal Containers and Boxes 
  • Making Ovens and Stoves 
  • Crafting Paper and Paper Products 
  • Producing Petroleum Products 
  • Diving into Plastic Industries 
  • Building and Repairing Ships 
  • Making Stationery 
  • Running a Steel Workshop 
  • Producing Textiles and Textile Products 
  • Crafting tyres and Rubber Goods 
  • Bottling Water 

And the list goes on! From woodworking to electricity generation and precision activities like lens cutting to ship construction, Dubai’s vibrant industrial landscape has something for everyone.

The Bright Future of Manufacturing in Dubai

Dubai is gearing up for exciting changes, aiming to attract more foreign investment with its strategic plans. One big move? The new energy policy will be launched in 2024 as part of D33. Managed by DEWA, this policy encourages sectors like data centres and agri-tech to use solar power. It’s a win-win: businesses save on energy costs and help the environment, earning them a leg up with i-RECs for net-zero emissions.

The buzz around this policy is expected to boost manufacturing, logistics, and trade services, showing Dubai’s commitment to a green and resilient industrial sector. Since February 2022, the IDB has been gearing up for this, focusing on automating and improving factory operations.

And for American companies eyeing the UAE market? The U.S. Commercial Service in the UAE is here to help with matchmaking and market research, making it easier to tap into Dubai’s vibrant manufacturing scene.

Speaking of growth, let’s remember Operation 300bn! Launched in 2021, this 10-year plan by MoIAT aims to more than double the industrial sector’s contribution to AED 300bn by 2031. With a focus on sub-sectors like food, beverage and pharmaceuticals, and a new flexible industrial law, the UAE is set to boost its manufacturing game. Ready to join the ride?

Share of manufacturing in nominal GDP
Source: FCSA, DSC, SCAD, ENBD Research

Manufacturing: A Big Player in UAE’s Economy

Manufacturing isn’t just making things—it’s making a mark on the UAE’s economy! As the third largest sector after mining and retail, it contributed nearly 10% to the UAE’s GDP in 2022. While Dubai and Abu Dhabi contribute slightly less, around 8.7% and 6%, respectively, places like RAK and Sharjah help pick up the slack with their bustling industrial scenes.

And here’s some good news: UAE manufacturing is picking up steam! In 2022, it grew by a whopping 8.75%, leaving the 2017-2019 average of 2.8% in the dust. So, whether you’re a local business or an international player, there’s plenty of room to grow in the UAE’s thriving manufacturing landscape. Ready to jump in?

Diverse Activities in the Manufacturing Sector

In the manufacturing world of the UAE, heavy industries have traditionally taken the lead, making the most enormous contribution to value added. Following closely behind are sectors like chemicals, rubber and plastics, machinery and equipment, and food and beverage, all playing their part in the vibrant manufacturing landscape.

value added in manufacturing sub-sectors
Source: FCSA, DSC, SCAD, ENBD Research

Across all manufacturing sub-sectors, we’re looking at substantial growth ahead. However, the food and beverage (F&B) sector takes the cake, with a whopping expected growth of 210% by 2031.

Post-COVID, the F&B sector has been in the spotlight, especially with the UAE’s growing population and its focus on long-term food security. To give it an extra boost, a UAE F&B digital platform was launched in September 2023. This platform connects investors, manufacturers, banks, and trade partners, making supporting and growing the sector easier. 

Manufactured Goods Boost UAE’s Non-Oil Exports

Manufactured products are vital to the UAE’s non-oil exports. Operation 300 bn’s strategy aims to increase the UAE’s export competitiveness on the global stage.  

As the UAE shifts its focus from oil, non-oil exports have gained momentum. While it’s tricky to pinpoint the exact types of goods, a significant chunk of these exports likely come from the manufacturing sector. The top categories for non-oil exports are pearls, stones, and precious metals (40.2%), followed by base metals at 21.3%.  

It’s important to note that while some of these exports might be raw materials, the current trade codes don’t let us distinguish between raw, semi-manufactured, and entirely manufactured goods.

share of non-oil exports (full year 2021)
Source: MoIAT Industrial Investment Guide

Non-Oil Exports: Plastic, Rubber, and Food & Beverage Lead the Way

In 2021, plastic and rubber products and food and beverage exports were significant players, making up 7.8% and 7.7% of non-oil exports, respectively. If we put aside the dominant categories like pearls, stones, precious metals, and base metals, the priority sub-sectors under Operation 300bn seem to align with these smaller export groups.

Recent data show that plastic and rubber products and food and beverage exports have grown enormously among these smaller categories. Between Q3 2021 and Q3 2022, exports in the rubber and plastics category jumped by 24%, while food and beverage exports grew by 22%.

Despite this impressive growth in 2022, the food and beverage sector has yet to reach its 2018 and 2019 export levels.

Dubai Manufacturing: Where Innovation Meets Opportunity

Dubai’s manufacturing scene is more than just factories and production lines—a hub of innovation and forward-thinking. It’s been the driving force behind the region’s economic growth and diversity, proving resilient even in a changing global landscape. Investors, entrepreneurs, and business leaders can’t help but be drawn to its magnetic charm.

Thanks to game-changers like Operation 300bn, the future looks even brighter. We’re discussing a future where sustainability and cutting-edge tech go hand in hand. With Dubai investing in top-notch infrastructure, nurturing talent, and creating a business-friendly vibe, our manufacturing industry is all set to shine on the world stage.

So, if you love being part of something big and exciting, Dubai is where you want to be. We’re not just keeping up with the future but shaping it. Come join Shuraa as we embrace the challenges and seize the opportunities of tomorrow’s manufacturing world!

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