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23 April 2024

Hamdan bin Mohammed highlights Dubai’s relentless quest to redefine standards as a prime global trade hub

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By E247

His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai, reaffirmed that Dubai continues to enhance its position as a leading global hub for trade and logistics services ably guided by the visionary leadership of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. Dubai’s growth continues to exceed expectations and its objectives under the Dubai Economic Agenda, D33, launched by Sheikh Mohammed, His Highness said, highlighting that the D33 aims to firmly place Dubai among the top three urban economies globally, significantly raise its economic and trade competitiveness, and expand the horizons of its international trade.

 

Sheikh Hamdan stressed that the continued growth in the volume of Dubai’s non-oil foreign trade reflected the extent of Dubai’s strong and effective partnerships with strategic partners worldwide, besides the thriving partnership between the public and private sectors. Dubai’s success was also underlined by tireless efforts to ensure that all requisite factors remained in place to sustain its prime position across various economic and commercial sectors, His Highness added.

 

“The exceptional performance of the non-oil foreign trade sector and the continued momentum achieved by this vital sector in Dubai strengthens its position as a pivotal starting point for trade to various regional and global markets, and as a major centre of attraction for traders and businessmen,” His Highness said. “For businesses and companies wishing to expand their activity in the region and beyond, Dubai provides unmatched advantages in terms of its strategic location at the crossroads of global trade, transparency in commercial processes, and world-class facilities that translate into immense ease of doing business,” he added.

Sheikh Hamdan underscored the stupendous growth recorded by Dubai in terms of non-oil trade as a testament to its distinctive business ethos. “Dubai's non-oil foreign trade has reached AED2 trillion in 2023, a year earlier than planned.

 

This showcases the emirate’s resilience and its ability to overcome the global challenges facing supply chains, enhance its competitiveness, and lead future transformations in the global trade scene, to continue achieving the goals of its economic agenda,” he said. “Dubai is steadfast in achieving its economic goals under the D33, elevating the total volume of foreign trade from AED14.2 trillion in the past decade to AED25.6 trillion in the next decade.” 

 

Dubai has further bolstered its rapid non-oil foreign trade growth with a flurry of successful investments in advanced technologies for Dubai Customs. The department processed more than 26.5 million customs declarations in 2023, marking a historic high compared to 22.5 million declarations in 2022, representing an 18% growth. Additionally, a 15% jump was recorded in the volume of goods traded by land in 2023, besides a growth of 9% in goods transported by air, and 8% by sea.

Ambitious goals 

 His Excellency Sultan bin Sulayem, DP World Group Chairman & CEO, and Chairman of Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation, emphasised that, following the unveiling of the five-year plan by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid, the immediate response was the formation of a team under his leadership and the initiation of an ambitious programme. This programme aims to achieve Dubai's target of AED2 trillion by 2025, focusing on doubling the value of Dubai's non-oil foreign trade (including exports, imports, and re-exports). The team comprises strategic partners of Dubai Customs, representing both government and private entities, with the objective of studying current conditions and proposing and implementing various initiatives – be they incentive-driven, legislative, or logistical. The ultimate objective is to enhance Dubai's competitiveness and solidify its strategic position in global trade, seamlessly connecting the world's north, south, east, and west. 

The challenges posed by the global Covid-19 pandemic notwithstanding, the programme effectively navigated the trying phase, showcasing Dubai's remarkable ability to support resilient global supply chains and lead the recovery in the commercial sector.

HE Bin Sulayem said: “The programme encompasses several initiatives designed to simplify trade, boost profits for companies and traders, and introduce new commercial avenues. Among these endeavours is the cross-border e-commerce platform, utilising blockchain technologies to streamline supply chains. Its objective is to enhance the market presence of Dubai-based companies in local and regional e-commerce distribution by reducing overall e-commerce operation costs by 20%. Additionally, the authorised economic operator programme establishes connections between the UAE customs and those of other countries like South Korea, China, India, Indonesia, and the Gulf Cooperation Council countries. This is achieved through mutual recognition agreements to facilitate secure trade exchange with these nations. The emphasis in these initiatives lies in easing business processes.”

On his part, His Excellency Ahmed Mahboob Musabih, Director General of Dubai Customs, CEO of Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation, said: “Dubai Customs has gone above and beyond to enhance growth in Dubai's international trade through the provision of outstanding services and facilities. Operating digitally around the clock, our systems handle approximately 85,000 transactions daily, a number poised for growth given the booming trade in Dubai and the influx of trading companies setting up bases in the city. Our commitment to being a fully paperless entity underscores our leadership in smart transformation and digital empowerment, with 100% of customs transactions now conducted through intelligent systems, achieving a remarkable 98% customer satisfaction rate.”

According to HE Musabih, “Dubai Customs remains dedicated to advancing and innovating digital customs services, with the goal of simplifying procedures and increasing customs transactions. Thanks to innovations like the Smart Workspace platform, customs declarations now take just 4 minutes, contributing to the success of Dubai's non-oil foreign trade, which reached a value of AED2.1 trillion ahead of the targeted deadline.”

Digital initiatives

 Dubai Customs remains committed to enhancing and innovating digital customs services to streamline procedures and increase customs transactions. The ‘Shipment Status Tracking’ project delivers an outstanding customer experience by enabling quick actions based on shipment status, providing swift support to over 200,000 clients, including importers, Customs brokers, shipping companies, and transport companies. This enhances transparency in the goods clearance process, and boosts 24/7 operations. The introduction of ‘Post Audit Robotic Process Automation (PCA-RPA)’ is a distinctive initiative aiming to automate customs auditing operations with AI-based technologies. Covering the auditing of Customs declarations completed annually by Dubai Customs, particularly for high-value goods, categories, and customs conditions, the goal is to achieve 100% coverage in the next five years.

Customs policy development

 Dubai Customs follows adaptable customs policies to enhance trade operations and reinforce Dubai's global competitiveness in business ease. These policies, contributing to increased foreign direct investment, resulted in 13 customs notices and policies issued by Dubai Customs in 2023. The detailed information within these policies empowers traders to conduct their customs transactions transparently, ensuring a clear and complication-free business process. These policies cover explanations of the latest digitally accessible services, updates on goods classification, and procedures related to economic partnership agreements.

Customer satisfaction focus

 Customer satisfaction stands as a top strategic priority for Dubai Customs, with a noteworthy rate of 95.4% based on the 2023 Government of Dubai Customer Happiness Index survey. Dubai Customs has introduced unique initiatives to engage with customers that serve as crucial channels for business enhancement, proposal discussions, and overcoming challenges. These initiatives function as a robust communication link between the government and private sectors, working towards Dubai's sustainable economic development.

 

The ‘Dubai Customs Consultative Council’ represents the world's first Customs council of its kind, facilitating direct communication with clients through quarterly meetings to discuss customs operations updates. The ‘Ertibat’ initiative, too, acts as a transparent platform for fostering relationships with foreign companies, business sectors, and diplomatic entities. It supports the level of Customs services and facilities provided to traders and investors, involving regular meetings with diplomatic entities from friendly nations and Dubai's trading partners.