DUBAI, July 8 (Xinhua) — The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is one of the largest importers of European cheese, UAE state news agency WAM reported on Sunday, citing statistics from the European Union (EU). The UAE imported 18,485 tonnes of cheese from EU states in total in 2017. Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan and Kuwait also underscored the popularity of EU cheese, importing 17,900 tonnes of French cheese alone. The UAE, with 10.5 million inhabitants, has to import 90 percent of its food needs, according to the UAE Ministry of Economy. “European cheese exporters are keen to explore opportunities in the region and introduce even more kinds of cheese to restaurants and supermarkets,” said Laurent Damiens, Communication Director of CNIEL, the French official cheese board. The most sought-after varieties of EU cheese include Camembert, Neufchatel, Pont l’Eveque, Comte, Morbier, Mont d’Or, Mimolette, Fourme de Montbrison and Epoisses.