DAFZA’s 2018 non-oil foreign trade reaches AED146 billion

Photo: WAM

The Dubai Airport Freezone Authority, DAFZA, has announced that its 2019 budget has increased significantly to AED1 billion.

DAFZA’s investment in new expansion projects is estimated to be around AED780 million representing 78 percent which comes in support to its commitment to increasing its contribution to Dubai non-oil trade.

DAFZA's non-oil foreign trade in 2018 grew AED55.8 billion to reach AED146 billion representing an increase of 62 percent versus 2017, while its contribution to Dubai's non-oil foreign trade in 2018 reached 11 percent versus seven percent in 2017.

DAFZA has shown resilience and steady growth with 2018 results reaching unprecedented performance with five percent growth in net profit, a four percent increase in EBID, an eight percent increase in total revenue, as well as an increase of three percent in total assets versus 2017. Following the free zone's decision in mid-2018 to reduce its set up costs by 65 percent, the zone witnessed a clear 22 percent increase in registered companies versus last year.

H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group, said that trade is one of the key sectors driving Dubai’s growth, supported by the Emirate’s long standing of being a gateway for global trade. DAFZA’s results achieved in 2018 are a direct reflection of Dubai’s strong economic growth and in line with the path taken by Dubai’s leadership for revenue diversification.

Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed added that the results confirm DAFZA continues to play a vital role in achieving the strategic goals of strengthening Dubai's non-oil economy, with foreign direct investment through attracting global capital and major multinational organisations. "This also encourages investors to establish their business within a stable economic environment and to expand their investments operating locally in the UAE and regionally through DAFZA. The zone’s unique value proposition encourages investors to set up their businesses in DAFZA where they benefit from the competitive environment on offer and the high flexibility in the midst of global economic fluctuations," he added.

He went on to say that these carefully-laid plans and ambitious strategic initiatives support the strategy of economic diversification in line with the Dubai 2021 Plan. The government’s plans to move to the post-oil era have played a major role in achieving these results, as well as the continuous efforts of all those who develop and implement these initiatives.

DAFZA’s non-oil foreign trade volume climbed 62 percent in 2018 to reach AED146 billion. This is largely due to the strong growth in exports and re-exports which stood at AED83.3 billion in 2018, an increase of AED39.5 billion, a 90 percent growth versus 2017, while imports increased by 35 percent from 2017 to reach AED62.5 billion.

This resulted in a significant surplus in DAFZA’s trade with AED21 billion in 2018. This has confirmed once again the quality of DAFZA’s world-class services, and the positive impact of the initiatives and incentives provided by the free zone to foreign investors.

For his part, Dr. Mohammed Al Zarooni, Director-General of DAFZA, said DAFZA’s non-oil foreign trade growth in 2018 is a clear indication that we are adopting the right strategies. DAFZA’s competitiveness has appealed to a wide spectrum of companies from around the world which seek to take advantage of Dubai’s position as regional and international trading hub. He also highlighted the importance of strategic targeted marketing campaigns implemented during the past year, which has proven DAFZA’s ability to attract businesses, retain them and act as a catalyst for their growth.

DAFZA’s data revealed that non-Arab Asian countries accounted for 46 percent of Dubai’s non-oil trade in 2018 amounting to AED66.5 billion. Arab countries ranked right behind at 27 percent with a value of AED39.5 billion, where GCC countries comprised 62 percent at a value of AED24.5 billion. European countries came in at third place with 22 percent of trade valued at AED32 billion.

As per DAFZA’s top countries rank in non-oil foreign trade, India ranked first with a value of AED24.1 billion, accounting for 16.5 percent, followed by China with a value of AED24 billion accounting for 16.4 percent, and Switzerland came in third place with AED23 billion accounting for 15.6 percent.

In line with its vision to enhance the local economy in the UAE and Dubai in particular, DAFZA seeks to continuously attract key regional and international investors who are looking to invest and expand their operations in the region.

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