Dubai foreign trade hits Dh1.329 trillion in 2013

Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum

With a new peak for non-oil foreign trade in 2013, Dubai’s rising growth in foreign trade culminates with a volume of Dh1.329 trillion, achieving a Dh94 billion increase from the 2012 value which totalled Dh1.235 trillion.

In this context, Dubai Crown Prince and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum praised the notable performance of the non-oil trade sector in Dubai which echoes the ongoing growth of all sectors in Dubai and the UAE as a whole.

Sheikh Hamdan attributed this positive advancement to the wise leadership of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and, Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and his constant follow-up to ensure the availability of all elements that support progressive and sustained growth for local, regional and international entities operating from the UAE.

Sheikh Hamdan asserted that Dubai is taking huge leaps ahead with the announcement of the ‘Smart Dubai’ initiative, which aims to raise the bar in enhancing the overall performance of Dubai government sectors and boost the economic sector in particular. Dubai Crown Prince called on leaders and executives in Dubai government sectors to leave no stone unturned in search for fresh opportunities to further strengthen performance and set Dubai as an international benchmark for development and prosperity in addition to its role as a key link in global trade routes.

Praising the genuine efforts of Dubai government entities, Sheikh Hamdan expressed confidence of their ability to bring forth yet more innovative ideas and initiatives as part of a one big team working together to achieve goals inspired by the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid in shaping the future of a country that celebrates development, modernisation and success.

Foreign trade has successfully managed to keep up with Dubai’s new economic surge; based on a wider diversity of growth, where various economic sectors contribute with convergent rates.

The year 2013 saw a remarkable 10 per cent increase in tourist numbers to 11 million tourists occupying Dubai hotels, with the number of passengers travelling through Dubai International Airport rising by 15.2 per cent to 66.4 million passengers.

Moreover, new trade licences recorded an increase of 12 per cent that is equal to 18,700 licenses, while the total amount of real estate transactions in Dubai grew by 53 per cent exceeding Dh236 billion. In addition, another record year was delivered in container volumes with the total number of containers handled reaching 13.6 million TEU. In response to this massive leap in economic performance, foreign trade hits a growth rate that exceeds twice WTO’s forecasted 2.5 per cent global trade growth.

This soaring economic performance surely solidifies Dubai’s position at the forefront of the global economic scene. Being awarded the right to host Expo 2020 is a clear testament by the international community to Dubai's economic ability, and with the arrangements for such an event – considered the world’s greatest and most highly-celebrated international trade exhibition - the emirate enters a new stage of continuous rise to new peaks of performance and achievement. This would ultimately make Dubai a regional leader and an international competitor according to all global indicators, most notably those of competitiveness, confidence and happiness.

“We are driven by the comprehensive and insightful vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice-President and Prime Minster and Ruler of Dubai, about the nature of the new stage of Dubai’s economic course,” said the Executive Chairman of Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation and Director General of Dubai Customs Ahmed Butti Ahmed.

“We are set to develop and implement a creative work strategy that is able to keep pace with a stage where Dubai embarks on a more prominent role in the global economy, by means of developing the emirate’s ability to efficiently link with regional and international markets. Building on its advanced infrastructure and increasing competitive advantages, the emirate will serve as gateway to markets that virtually extend across the world.”

Butti said: “In line with Dubai’s pivotal role in global trade, we work to develop Dubai Customs’ array of services so as to respond efficiently to the global market expansion. Dubai foreign trade growth of 8 per cent reflects the emirate’s capability to enhance its trade dealings at all levels. The emirate’s imports saw an increase of Dh74 billion to reach Dh811 billion in 2013, compared to Dh737 billion in 2012. On the other hand, exports and re-exports increased by Dh20 billion with a total value of Dh518 billion, compared to Dh498 billion registered last year.”

Furthermore, Dubai’s direct trade with the outer world rose to Dh846 billion, up from Dh808 billion. Dubai free zones trade volume recorded Dh467 billion, compared to Dh417 billion. Customs warehouse trade went up from Dh10 billion to Dh16 billion. The diversity of Dubai’s foreign trade growth sources supports the emirate’s ability to secure high performance levels that can further boost its economy.

“We in Dubai Customs have a relentless determination to promoting our performance in order to keep pace with Dubai’s role in the global trade,” said Mr. Butti, adding that “Dubai Customs is eager to deliver high-end services to traders and investors, by reducing the time and effort spent in carrying out transactions, thus ensuring a real value is added from choosing Dubai as their trade destination. This also enhances the emirate’s ability to attract the highest sustainable trade growth, that efficiently leverages its overall economic performance. In 2013, and in response to the Smart Government Initiative launched by H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Customs was the first government entity to transform into a fully smart government department in a record time. According to which our services are made available 24/7 via smart phones, featuring a direct follow-up system by specialized staff.”

During 2013, Dubai maintained a relative diversity in its external markets. As a result, foreign trade with the emirate’s top five trading partners reached Dh468 billion, while with the remaining partners the volume stood at Dh861 billion. India tops Dubai's major trade partners with a total trade volume of Dh137 billion representing a 10 per cent share. China comes second with a value of Dh135 billion which accounts for around 10 per cent. The USA is third with Dh86 billion, that is a 6 per cent share. Saudi Arabia rises to the fourth position with a total share of 4 per cent amounting to Dh56 billion, then the UK with a total share of approximately 4 per cent accounting for Dh54 billion.

As far as Dubai’s imports are concerned, China leads the list of trading partners followed by the USA then India. As for re-exports, Saudi Arabia comes first, followed by India then Iraq. India, Turkey and Switzerland are respectively the leading partners of Dubai in terms of exports.

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