Dubai’s non-oil foreign trade volumes surged to 83 million tons in the first nine months of 2019, an increase of 22% per cent year-on-year from 68 million tons in the corresponding period last year.
The volume of re-exports skyrocketed 48% to reach 13 million tons. Exports rose by 47% to 14 million tons while imports grew by 13% to 56 million tons.
In terms of value, Dubai’s external trade rose 6% to exceed the trillion mark, reaching AED1.02 trillion compared to AED966 million in the same period in 2018. Exports rose by 23% to AED118 billion, re-exports grew by 4% to AED312 billion, and imports rose 3% to AED589 billion.
Dubai achieved regular quarterly profits in 2019. The third quarter saw the highest trade activity worth AED343 billion, a growth of 7%. The second quarter’s trade activity witnessed 3% growth to reach Dh337 billion while the first quarter’s trade activity saw a 7% growth to reach AED339 billion, compared to the same period in 2018.
“The strong performance of Dubai’s foreign trade reflects the robust fundamentals of our economy and prepares us to take advantage of the new opportunities that will come in 2020 – the year that will mark a new push for transformational growth over the next 50 years,” said His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai. “We are confident our external trade sector will continue its strong growth momentum. Government teams are going above and beyond to develop new initiatives that will fast-track our trade growth. These include the Dubai Silk Road project, which will enhance Dubai’s position as a leading trade and logistics hub. We are working on a virtual trade zone, the first of its kind in the world, which will considerably boost the development of e-commerce regionally and globally. All our various achievements will also enable us to host an exceptional EXPO 2020 and accelerate our growth and progress beyond the event.”
Dubai’s foreign trade out of free zones was a big contributor to the overall increase, accounting for AED439 billion, a 11 per cent (+Dh45bn) increase year-on-year. Direct trade achieved 2% growth to reach AED574 billion, an AED10 billion rise from the first nine months of 2018. Customs warehouse trade hit AED6 billion, land trade grew by 11% contributing AED169 billion, sea trade increased by 5% to AED381 billion, and air trade rose by 4%, accounting for AED469 billion.
Commenting on the latest trade figures, Sultan bin Sulayem, DP World Group Chairman & CEO and Chairman of Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation said: “The strong growth delivered by non-oil foreign trade is a sign of how resilient the Dubai economy is. It also reflects Dubai’s success in developing its manufacturing facilities. Jebel Ali Free Zone has created a global model for the delivery of unique services and facilities to investors.
“Dubai trade is agile and it has strong access to new markets thanks to its reliability and transparency. This helps us with our upcoming projects that will be delivered in 2020 - the year of preparation for the next 50 years, based on an advanced infrastructure and the best AI applications which are expected to immensely change and disrupt the nature and structure of trade in the coming few decades.”
Bin Sulayem applauded the achievements of Dubai Customs in maintaining its leading position and delivering the best services to businesses and clients.
“Dubai Customs recently won the innovation platinum award with a 6-star rating from EFQM Global Excellence Award, scoring 700 points, the highest among all participating organisations. Dubai Customs has become the first organisation in the world to win this reputed global award based on the new rating system introduced in 2019. Winning the EFQM award is an international recognition of our leading achievements and reflects the advanced levels we have reached in customs innovation. Dubai Customs has dedicated a customs clearance channel for EXPO 2020 exhibitors and participants. In conjunction with the World Government Summit and EXPO 2020, Dubai Customs is hosting the 5th WCO Global AEO Conference between 10-12 March 2020 in cooperation with the World Customs Organization and the Federal Customs Authority” he added.
In line with Dubai’s plans and vision, Dubai Customs launched the Productivity Engine which was developed in-house using artificial intelligence to boost productivity, reduce costs and raise client satisfaction. It was approved by The Executive Council of Dubai to be used at the level of government departments. It also launched the Creek Vessel Berth Management, a system that manages operations at Dubai Creek and Hamriya port including vessel registration and management, coastal manifest and declaration management, berth management and inspection. These advanced services helped Dubai Customs top the client happiness index with 98%.
China remained Dubai’s largest trading partner, contributing AED109 billion, a 6 per cent increase. India was the second biggest trading partner, contributing AED100 billion, a growth of 16% per cent, followed by USA with AED57 billion and Switzerland with AED47 billion. Saudi Arabia maintained its position as Dubai’s largest Arab trade partner. The country was its fifth-biggest partner globally with AED42 billion worth of trade.
The trade of gold contributed AED129 billion, growing by 17%. The second-highest traded commodity by value was mobile phones which grew 7% to reach AED119 billion. Trade in petroleum oils reached AED68 billion while diamonds accounted for AED63 billion.
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