The United Arab Emirates (also the UAE or the Emirates) is a Middle Eastern country situated in the southeast of the Arabian Peninsula in Southwest Asia on the Persian Gulf, comprising seven emirates: Abu Dhabi, Ajm‚n, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah, and Umm al-Quwain. Before 1971, they were known as the Trucial States or Trucial Oman, in reference of a nineteenth-century truce between Britain and several Arab Sheikhs. It borders Oman and Saudi Arabia. The country is rich in oil.
The UAE has an open economy with a high per capita income and a sizable annual trade surplus. Its wealth is based on oil and gas output (about 33% of GDP), and the fortunes of the economy fluctuate with the prices of those commodities. Since 1973, the UAE has undergone a profound transformation from an impoverished region of small desert principalities to a modern state with a high standard of living. At present levels of production, oil and gas reserves should last for over 100 years. Despite higher oil revenues in 1999, the government has not drawn back from the economic reforms implemented during the 1998 oil price depression. The government has increased spending on job creation and infrastructure expansion and is opening up its utilities to greater private-sector involvement.