Dubai’s non-oil foreign trade rises to Dh1.3tr in 2017

Dubai’s non-oil foreign trade in 2017 reached Dh1.302 trillion, registering a Dh26 billion increase from 2016 figures.

Dubai’s re-exports grew 9 per cent in 2017 to Dh360 billion, while imports touched Dh798 billion and exports totalled Dh144 billion.

The emirate’s foreign free zone trade grew 5 per cent to Dh434 billion, while direct trade touched Dh829 billion and customs warehouse trade weighed in at Dh39 billion.

“Dubai’s competitiveness plays a key role in attracting investments from around the world, which seek to take advantage of Dubai’s position as a regional and international trading hub,” said Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council.

He said that trade is one of the key sectors that drives Dubai’s growth as a major global trading hub, which is supported by the emirate’s long heritage of being a gateway for global trade.

“The current growth of its non-oil foreign trade is an indication that we are on the right path of revenue diversification,” Shaikh Hamdan said.

“Dubai’s external trade growth reflects global economic trends, especially in the areas of communication and information technology. This is driven by the national economy’s focus on innovation and creativity, and our leadership in adopting artificial intelligence technologies in various sectors.

“There is no doubt that Expo 2020 will showcase our unique economic experience and our ability to establish global leadership across sectors,” he added.

Sultan Ahmad Bin Sulayem, Group Chairman of DP World and CEO and chairman of the Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation, credited the performance of the foreign trade sector to Dubai’s advanced infrastructure.

“Customs clearance conducted through AEO [authorised economic operators] accounted for 23 per cent of the total clearance of Dubai Customs in 2017,” Bin Sulayem said. “This is expected to reach 50 per cent in 2020. Dubai Customs also launched the ‘Smart Refund System’, which allows customers to refund their customs deposits through a smart solution that reduces time and costs, eliminates errors, mitigates fraud, improves service compliance and increases customer satisfaction.

Dubai’s non-oil foreign trade conducted through land transportation grew 4.1 per cent to Dh241 billion in 2017, while sea trade grew 3.3 per cent to Dh467 billion and air trade accounted for Dh594 billion.

Trade partners

China maintained its position as Dubai’s biggest trading partner in 2017 with Dh176 billion worth of trade or 13.6 per cent of the total value, followed by India with Dh99 billion, representing 7.6 per cent of Dubai’s total non-oil foreign trade.

The United States was ranked third with a total of Dh85 billion (6.5 per cent) of Dubai’s total trade.

Saudi Arabia is Dubai’s leading business partner among GCC and Arab countries, and its fourth biggest trading partner, with trade worth Dh58 billion, representing 4.5 per cent of Dubai’s total trade with the world.

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