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21 April 2024

Mohammed bin Rashid: UAE non-oil foreign trade of goods and services surpassed AED3.5 trillion in 2023 for first time

Published
By E247

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, said that the UAE, under the leadership of President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, has reached unprecedented heights in its non-oil foreign trade figures, surpassing AED3.5 trillion.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid said, “Today we announce that the UAE non-oil foreign trade of goods and services, surpassed AED3.5 trillion in 2023 for the first time in the country's economic history despite the global downturn in international trade movement according to reports by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development."

His Highness added, “We indicated at the beginning of 2023 that it would be a record economic year. The UAE has established new bridges of cooperation through comprehensive partnership agreements. Thus, our foreign trade with the top ten trading partners jumped by 26 percent, with Turkey by more than 103 percent, with Hong Kong-China by 47 percent, and with the USA by 20 percent."

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid said, The UAE today lies at the heart of international trade movement. Our economic commitments to everyone continue.”

Overcoming the challenges of global trade
The record growth of the country's non-oil foreign trade coincided with a continuous increase in the value of non-oil exports in 2023, exceeding AED441 billion (US$120billion), with a growth rate of 16.7 percent compared to 2022, and that 2023 exports more than double the exports in 2018 and are close to achieving double the exports of 2019, as they increased by 28 percent compared to 2021 as well as 66 percent compared to 2020, and by 84 percent compared to 2019.

The contribution of non-oil exports of goods to the country's overall foreign trade increased to 17.1 percent, up from 14.1 percent in 2019 and 13 percent in 2018.

The record growth in both total foreign trade and non-oil exports was accompanied by a similar increase in re-exports, which hit AED 690 billion (US$188billion), a growth of 6.9 percent compared to 2022 and a growth rate of 27.7 percent compared to 2021. Re-exports continued their upward trend of growth over the recent years, excepting 2020, which is considered an exceptional year due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the accompanying closures around the world.

Imports also increased to AED1.4 trillion (US$380billion), a growth of 14.2 percent compared to 2022. The top 10 imported commodities achieved a growth of 20.9 percent in 2023 compared to 2022, and the rest of the commodities grew by 6.3 percent. The most important imported commodities are gold, telephones, petroleum oils, cars and diamonds.

Recovery of UAE Trade in Services
In 2023, the UAE’s services trade surplus grew to AED207 billion, up from AED96.26 billion in 2021, indicating a continued increase in its share of global service exports. Key sectors such as travel and tourism, ICT, professional and financial services, education, medical tourism, Islamic financial services, the creative economy, and logistics saw a significant contribution to this growth.

UAE trade growth with top 10 trading partners
In 2023, the UAE’s non-oil trade with its top 10 partners grew significantly. Trade with Türkiye, which contributed 5.1 percent to the total, grew by 103.7 percent, the highest among the top 10. This followed the September implementation of the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement between the two countries. Other notable increases were with Hong Kong-China (47.9 percent), which now ranks eighth among the UAE’s top ten trading partners, the US (20.1 percent), and China (4.2 percent). Trade with India, which has a similar agreement since May 2022, grew by 3.9 percent, accounting for over 7.6 percent of the total trade.

Non-oil exports to the top 10 partners grew by 26.9 percent, with Türkiye accounting for nearly 60 percent of UAE’s exports in the last five months of 2023 – and underlining the impact of the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement which came into force in September. India was the second-largest recipient of UAE exports.

China remained the UAE’s leading trading partner, followed by India, the US, Saudi Arabia, and Türkiye. The next five were Iraq, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Japan, and the Sultanate of Oman.

Leading goods exports
Gold, aluminum, oils, cigarettes, jewelry, copper wire and ethylene polymers topped the list of the country's most important exports of goods.

Quarterly performance promises further growth
In Q4 2023, the UAE’s non-oil foreign trade of goods reached a record AED710 billion (US$193billion), a 16.3 percent YoY and 12.4 percent QoQ growth. This marked the first time non-oil trade exceeded AED700 billion (US$190billion) in a quarter. Non-oil exports of goods amounted to AED132.2 billion (US$36billion), a 39.3 percent YoY and 26.9 percent QoQ increase. Since Q1 2023, non-oil exports have consistently surpassed AED100 billion (US$27.2 billion).