The Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry said a total of 8,900 companies joined as members within the first six months of 2017, while it saw its new membership increase by 10.9% year on year.
Dubai Chamber members’ exports and re-exports grew by 6.1% during the first half of 2017 to AED 146.7 billion, compared to AED 138.3 billion in the same period of last year. The Chamber’s total membership reached 210,000 by the end of H1-2017, making it one of the world’s largest membership-based chambers of commerce.
Saudi Arabia was the top export and re-export market for Dubai Chamber members with a value of AED 51.9 billion. This figure reflects an18% growth rate compared to the same period last year (AED 44 billion).
The Chamber issued 465,680 certificates between January and June of this year at a rate of more than 2,500 certificates per day, and issued 69 ATA Carnets for goods worth AED 24,6 million in addition to other value-added services designed to facilitate international trade and improve ease of doing business in Dubai.
H.E. Hamad Buamim, President and CEO of Dubai Chamber, highlighted Dubai’s rapid progress on implementing its economic diversification plans, and noted that the new figures from the Chamber confirms the crucial contribution of the emirate’s trade sector to this strategy.
Dubai Chamber’s president and CEO explained that the growth in member exports came despite challenging global economic conditions, and said that Dubai-based companies have taken a pro-active approach to exploring trade and investment opportunities in promising markets around the world.
H.E. Buamim said: "Trade relations between Dubai and Saudi Arabia continue to flourish and develop, and this is clearly reflected in the 18% growth in member exports and re-exports to the kingdom in the first half of the year.”
In addition, he described the strong growth in new members at the Chamber as a result of increased cooperation between Dubai’s public and private sectors, which have formed important partnerships that have attracted foreign companies to Dubai and created a favourable business environment in the emirate.
During the first six months of 2017, Dubai Chamber heavily promoted Dubai as a leading trade and investment hub by participating in 56 outbound missions and activities across 38 cities in 33 countries, including Argentina, Brazil, India, Belgium, Germany, Ethiopia, Ghana, China, the United Kingdom, Uruguay, the Netherlands, and Zambia, among others.
The Chamber received 350 delegations from 34 countries, marking a 14% increase in the number of visiting delegations compared to the same period last year. The delegations included more than 849 government officials and businessmen, while the Chamber’s international offices held 243 meetings with foreign companies that are keen to explore business prospects in Dubai.
Settlement of commercial disputes
Dubai International Arbitration Centre (DIAC), an initiative of Dubai Chamber, received 86 arbitration cases during the first half of this year, while the number of mediation cases received by the Chamber’s Legal Services department amounted to 321.
Review of business legislation
In line with its mission to create a favourable business environment in Dubai, the Chamber reviewed 34 federal laws, local laws, and ministerial resolutions. The Chamber sent its recommendations to the Dubai Government's Legal Affairs Department for the amendment of Federal Law No. (13/2004) pertaining to controlling the import, export and transit of raw diamonds. Other recommendations focused on a Labour Ministry resolution on wage protection and a law referring to the settlement of disputes in Dubai.
Within the first half of 2017, the Chamber served more than 187,000 customers, reflecting the non-profit public organisation’s commitment to improving and expanding the range of value-added services provided to its members.
The Chamber opened a representative office in the Brazilian city of Sao Paulo in April 2017, bringing the total number of international offices to eight. Other international offices are located across emerging markets in Africa and Asia.
Dubai Association Centre
Dubai Association Centre (DAC) granted licences to seven new international associations in the first half of 2017, bringing the total number of associations licensed by the Centre to 39. The Centre, established in 2014 by Dubai Chamber, Dubai Business Events (Department for Tourism and Commerce Marketing), and the Dubai World Trade Centre, offers assistance to non-profit, apolitical and nonreligious professional associations and trade bodies that want to set up operations in Dubai.
Supporting entrepreneurs and SMEs
Dubai Chamber stepped up its efforts to support entrepreneurs and SMEs in the emirate through its Tejar Dubai programme which is designed to train and assist young Emirati entrepreneurs as they take their first steps into the business world. A total of 28 commercial projects have been launched to date under the umbrella of Tejar Dubai.
The Chamber concluded the second cycle of the Dubai Smartpreneur Competition in collaboration with the Smart Dubai Office. The competition, which is open to all entrepreneurs residing in the UAE, aims to encourage entrepreneurs to contribute toward Dubai’s mission to create happiness by embracing technology innovation and transforming the emirate into a smart city.
Trade missions and events
Dubai Chamber organised a trade mission to Latin America in April 2017 which included visits to Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina. A high-level delegation was led by H.E. Majid Saif Al Ghurair, Chairman of Dubai Chamber, and included dignitaries and businessmen representing various economic sectors of Dubai. During the trade mission, delegates met with public and private sector stakeholders and explored business prospects, while the Chamber also opened a representative office in Sao Paulo that will serve the Latin America region.
The Chamber led a trade mission to India in March 2017 where UAE delegates visited Mumbai and Ahmedabad and met with government and business leaders from the two cities. Chamber officials announced the upcoming opening of a new representative office in India later this year which will aim to enhance economic cooperation and boost bilateral trade and investment.
Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Business Awards
Under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, Dubai Chamber organised the 9th session of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum (MRM) Business Award and the 1st edition of the MRM Business Innovation Award. A total of 32 winning companies from the UAE and wider GCC region were honoured during a prestigious ceremony hosted in Dubai.
The MRM Business Award, a member of Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives, is the highest level of recognition for business excellence in the GCC region.
The MRM Business Innovation Award was established in cooperation with the UAE Ministry of Economy and reflects the strong interest from the private sector to embrace innovation.
World Retail Congress
Dubai hosted the 11th World Retail Congress under the theme “Reimagining the Customer Experience”. The premier international event was organised in cooperation with Dubai Chamber and held under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
The Congress, held in the emirate for the second consecutive year, was attended by over 1,500 local and international industry experts and business leaders.
Dubai Smartpreneur Competition
Dubai Chamber organised the 2nd cycle of edition of Dubai Smartpreneur Competition in cooperation with Smart Dubai Office and recognised the top three winning companies at a special ceremony during ArabNet 2017. More than 700 innovative ideas were submitted during the 2nd cycle of the competition, marking a 100% increase in participation compared to the first edition.
Strategic partnerships and agreements
Dubai Chamber and Google announced in April a strategic partnership to help businesses across the emirate get online. The partnership, arranged during the 11th World Retail Congress, aims to assist local businesses boost their online exposure and expand their reach to potential customers.
The Chamber also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Souq.com to facilitate joint cooperation between the two parties and expand Chamber members’ access to the region’s growing e-commerce sector.
Centre for Responsible Business
During the first half of 2017, Dubai Chamber’s Centre for Responsible Business organised and hosted 15 events including the Dubai Dialogue Conference, Give & Gain Day Seminars, Workshops, Best Practice Sessions, and other community-focused events, which attracted 4,780 participants from 376 companies.
A total of 46 members have joined the Centre’s Sustainability Network to date.