Dubai non-oil foreign trade rises 2.7% to Dh327bn in Q1 2017

Dubai’s non-oil foreign trade grew 2.7 percent to reach AED327 billion in the first quarter of 2017, compared with the AED318 billion in the same quarter of 2016, according to the data published by Dubai Customs.

H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council, praised the growth in Dubai’s non-oil trade and noted that Dubai had once again proved its ability and readiness to overcome all challenges. "Dubai has been able to offset the impact of key challenges, including major currency fluctuations and slower global economic growth, increasing its non-oil foreign trade, as well as cementing its position as a regional and global business hub," His Highness said.

"Dubai has achieved this growth thanks to the guidance of Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. His vision for the future, along with several initiatives, such as Dubai 10X, which aims to place Dubai 10 years ahead of all other cities, and the ‘UAE Centennial Plan 2071’ have inspired a series of innovative and creative initiatives to boost the economy. These initiatives will also ensure the happiness of the people and make Dubai a global leader in many key sectors," H.H. said.

"We seek to enhance the UAE’s competitiveness by developing commercial and customs services that will bring significant financial benefits to all those who choose Dubai as a hub for their operations," Sheikh Hamdan added.

Imports accounted for the lion’s share of non-oil foreign trade at AED201 billion (3 percent growth), while exports accounted for AED35 billion and re-exports AED91 billion (5 percent).

The volume of Dubai’s external non-oil trade reached 24 million tonnes, while imports reached 15.84 million tonnes, re-exports 4.24 million tonnes, and exports 3.84 million tonnes.

Direct trade grew 3.5 percent to AED209 billion in the first quarter of 2017, while free zone trade accounted for AED108.5 billion. Customs warehouse trade grew 31 percent in the first quarter to reach AED9.1 billion, compared with the same period in 2016.

Meanwhile, Dubai’s non-oil foreign trade conducted through land transport grew 14.7 percent to reach AED61 billion in the first quarter, while sea trade accounted for AED118 billion, and air trade reached AED147.3, growing 1.1 percent.

Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, DP World Group Chairman and CEO and Chairman of Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation, said that Dubai Customs was the first to introduce many advanced systems and programmes in support of Dubai’s preparations to host Dubai Expo 2020.

"We are striving to enhance the competitiveness of the UAE and Dubai by offering unique advantages and developing customs services and product offerings. We have launched several pioneering programmes, such as the Smart Workspace, Mirsal 2, Risk Engine, Advanced Container Inspection System and Smart Customs Luggage Inspection System, among others," he remarked.

Bin Sulayem emphasised that making customers happy was a priority for Dubai Customs, as part of which it had launched the new seven-star Mina Rashid customs centre. The initiative was inspired by the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid.

"We were first on the happiness index last year, scoring 96.2 percent, and this is evident in the volume and results of 2.329 million declarations carried out during the first three months of 2017 and 9.1 million declarations done in 2016."

Asia topped the list of markets that conducted non-oil trade with Dubai, accounting for business worth AED208 billion in Q1 2017. Europe was second with AED54 billion, Africa third at AED32 billion, North America fourth at AED25 billion, South America fifth at AED4 billion, and Oceania, including Australia, sixth at AED3 billion.

China maintained its position as Dubai’s biggest partner in Q1 2017 with AED44.15 billion worth of trade, or 13.5 percent of the total value, followed by India with AED25.4 billion, representing 7.8 percent of Dubai’s total non-oil foreign trade, while the USA came third with a total of AED22 billion or 6.7 percent of the total trade.

Saudi Arabia is Dubai’s leading business partner among the Gulf Cooperation Council and Arab countries, and its fourth biggest trade partner, with business worth AED15.22 billion, representing 4.7 percent of Dubai’s total trade.

Mobile phones topped the list of high-value commodities in Dubai’s foreign trade in the first three months of 2017, with AED45 billion (14 percent). Next on the list was gold with AED39 billion (12 percent), followed by diamonds at AED26 billion (8 percent). Vehicles came fourth at AED18 billion (5 percent), followed by jewellery at AED15 billion (5 percent).

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