Dubai's foreign trade at Dh298bn

Includes non-oil direct trade, free zone trade and customs

Dubai's non-oil foreign trade grew 6.6 per cent during the first quarter of 2012, amounting to over Dh298.1 billion compared to Dh279.7 billion achieved in the first quarter of last year, according to latest statistics released by Dubai Customs.

Ahmed Butti Ahmed, Executive Chairman of Ports, Custom and Free Zone Corporation, Dubai Customs Director General, said: "The continued growth in Dubai's foreign trade reflects the strength and resilience of the UAE economy, thereby affirming the wise approach adopted to support economic diversity."

He further explained that the statistics presented include non-oil direct trade, free zone trade and customs warehouses. The Dubai Custom's top official shared that the growth of Dubai's trade flow with countries from different parts of the world can be widely attributed to the implementation of several economic, tourism and construction projects, which also includes the development of modern infrastructure like customs facilities at ports and airports and the provision of more advanced services.

Dubai Customs has expressed its keenness in constantly improving the services provided to customers, exporters and importers while also developing more strategic regulations and procedures of Custom Clearance a move that shows support for the continuing efforts to achieve sustainable development in the UAE and help attract more investments into the country. The move also looks toward preserving the gains achieved by Dubai's positioning as a strategic trade link between East and West. The emirate's strength as a trading hub is demonstrated by the strong relations maintained with countries from all over the world and is further consolidated with the presence of a wide network of leading shipping companies and air and sea liners based in Dubai ports and airports.

"The continued growth of Dubai's foreign trade has mainly resulted in the development of modern customs systems that ensures offering a wide range of high quality services to the private sector and shipping and logistics companies," added Ahmed Butti.

The continuous improvement in the services provided to customers has become a key factor in placing the UAE as one of the countries in top ranks of world economic reports over the last few years. In fact, a recent report from the World Bank entitled 'Doing Business Report 2012' has ranked the UAE fifth in the world and first among Arab countries in the area of ‘Facilitating Cross-Border Trade.'

The country has also been ranked in the sixteenth place in this year's edition of the 'Global Competitiveness Report,' an annual report published by the International Institute for Management and Development. The report shows obvious growth as compared to the previous year when it was ranked 28th. The UAE was also given the global ranking of third place in the 'Global Competitiveness Report 2011 - 2012' of the World Economic Forum, where it was cited for its security, stability and its positive business environment. These achievements reflect the combined efforts of all government departments to reinforce trade activity as Dubai foreign trade represents a big stake of the country's non-oil trade with the world by nearly 80 per cent.

Ahmed Butti has also revealed that Dubai's imports reached Dh175.2 billion during the first quarter of 2012, as compared to the Dh177.2 billion posted over the same period in 2011. The figures presented represent a growth rate of 5.4 per cent while the value of exports and re-exports over the first quarter of 2012 amounted to over Dh122.9, billion, which shows a growth of 8.5 percent from the Dh113.4 billion entered during the same period in 2011.

According to him, the country's positive trade rates and the continuing development of both infrastructure and legislative directives that are aimed at attracting more foreign investments, are expected to boost the UAE's chances of hosting Expo 2020. Aside from these factors, the chances are further made stronger with the country's experience in hosting previous international events like the annual meeting of the Board of Governor's of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund in 2003.

The Dubai Customs Director General also added that the UAE's openness to the world markets, combined with its capacity to deal with diverse consumer products has helped in addressing cultural diversification in the country. Also, the growing purchasing power parity has also contributed to the increase in the volume of imports. Moreover, high quality Emirati made products, the promotion of the national industry and the strategic facilities offered to exporters, have also played a significant role in increasing export volumes and expanding into more foreign markets.

India is currently ranked as Dubai's top trading partner in terms of imports, exports and re-exports, achieving as total value of over Dh40 billion. It emerged as Dubai's top exporting and re-exporting country at Dh21 billion and came second in terms of imports at Dh19 billion, following China at Dh25.5 billion, while the US came in third place at Dh16 billion.

Unwrought, worked and semi-manufactured gold topped the list of Dubai's imports with Dh25.6 billion from January to March 2012, followed by diamonds at Dh13.9 billion and jewelry and precious metals at Dh11.7 billion. Imports of telecom equipment have reached Dh11.4 billion, while cars touched Dh7.6 billion.

Gold was also the number one product to be exported from Dubai during the said period at Dh18.6 billion, followed by jewelry and precious metals at Dh1.4 billion and non-crude oil at Dh1.2 billion.

Telecom equipment and devices came in first in terms of re-exported products from Dubai to the rest of the world at Dh19.5 billion, followed by diamonds at Dh13.6 billion, non-crude oil at Dh4.6 billion, IT machinery at Dh4.3 billion and gold at Dh3.2 billion.

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