The Abu Dhabi Government hopes to start tracking imports and exports for each emirate, an upgrade to the current system that tracks trade only for the entire UAE.
"In Dubai, locals buy commodities imported through the Ghweifat border. Is it accurate to register the import to the emirate of Abu Dhabi? No," said Mahmoud Obeid, a senior economic researcher at Abu Dhabi's Department of Economic Development.
At the Towards A Mechanism for Monitoring Commodity Exchange conference yesterday, several government bodies including the Ministry of Foreign Trade, the Federal Customs Authority and the Abu Dhabi and Dubai Statistics Centres, discussed the regulation of individual emirates' trade balances.
Under the current system, all imports and exports made through any of the emirates is classified as countrywide data by the customs authority.
It means goods landed at one port may be destined for another emirate but will be registered as an import for the emirate in which the port of entry is located, creating a skewed trade picture.
"On a Federal level there is no problem but from a local level we cannot determine the size of import and export product for each emirate at any given time, which makes it difficult to make public policy decisions," said Mr Obeid.
Abu Dhabi's total foreign trade for the year so far has reached Dh79.3bn (US$21.59bn), according to statistics from the Department of Economic Development. Imports totalled Dh62.7bn, while non-oil exports reached Dh8.6bn. Re-exports through Abu Dhabi were at Dh7.9bn.
These figures, however, do not provide an accurate picture of specific trade for the Abu Dhabi Government.
Reports published by the Dubai's Statistics Centre in September showed that Dubai's total foreign trade reached Dh259.5bn in the first half of the year.