Dubai’s foreign trade on track to hit Dh2 trillion

Dubai - Pace of growth accelerates by 31 per cent in the first half of 2021


Issac John

Published: Sun 26 Sep 2021, 8:10 PM

Last updated: Sun 26 Sep 2021, 8:22 PM

The pace of Dubai’s external trade growth accelerated by 31 per cent in the first half of 2021, reflecting the emirate’s pre-eminent role as a global powerhouse for trade and logistics, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council, said on Sunday.

Dubai’s non-oil external trade surged to Dh722.3 billion in the first six months from Dh550.6 billion in the same 2020 period, underscoring that the emirate is right on track to achieve its global trade target of Dh2 trillion. The remarkable trade performance has been driven by a phenomenal jump in trade with Dubai’s traditional trade partners, China and India.

Sheikh Hamdan said Dubai, guided by the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has reinforced its status as one of the world’s fastest growing business hubs.

“This marked growth in trade demonstrates the success of Dubai’s strategic plan to consolidate its position as a global logistics and trade hub that connects the world’s diverse markets. Dubai’s existing sea and air network will be expanded to cover 200 new cities around the world. We are confident that we will continue to build on our growth momentum to achieve our ambitious sustainable development projects and plans,” the Dubai crown Prince said in a statement released by Dubai Media Office.

He said the accelerated pace of external trade growth also reflects Dubai’s growing global role in facilitating and streamlining worldwide trade and supply chains. “With Dubai all set to receive delegates from 191 nations at Expo2020, the emirate’s outstanding trade performance further raises its profile as a trading powerhouse,” Sheikh Hamdan said.

Dubai exports grew 45 per cent year on year (yoy) in H1 2021 to Dh109.8 billion from Dh75.8 billion, which supports the goal of the 10 x 10 programme (one of the nation’s ‘Projects of the 50’ initiatives) to increase the UAE’s exports to 10 global markets by 10 per cent annually. Imports rose by 29.3 per cent yoy to Dh414 billion from Dh320 billion. Re-exports grew 28.3 per cent yoy to Dh198.6 from Dh54.79.

By volume, Dubai’s non-oil external trade rose 10 per cent to 48 million tonnes in the first half compared to 43.7 million tons in H1 2020. Exports skyrocketed 30.8 per cent yoy to reach 10.1 million tons. Re-exports totalled 7.0 million tons growing by 10.6 per cent, and imports rose by 4.25 per cent to 31 million tons.

Sultan bin Sulayem, DP World Group chairman & CEO and chairman of Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation, said the growth in trade reaffirms Dubai’s ability to turn challenges into opportunities based on strategic plans that leverage the stability and flexibility of its economy. “Dubai is at the forefront of international economic recovery and we are on track to increase our global trade to Dh2 trillion in the coming years. Trade is turning into the main growth catalyst of the economy of the UAE and Dubai under the guidance of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. We continue to raise our commitment to developing customs services according to the evolving needs of businesses and investors and build more trade bridges to reach out to new markets.”

Sulayem said Dubai’s World Logistics Passport (WLP) initiative is helping to reimagine how goods and services move around the globe, boost resilience in global supply chains and remove the barriers that prevent developing economies from trading as freely as they might. “We are happy that 10 new countries have joined the world’s first logistics loyalty programme that brings together airport authorities, port operators and shipping agents. This incentive-based loyalty programme enables freight forwarders, traders and business owners to draw the maximum possible benefits from their trading operations, which can be translated to an increase of 5.0 per cent to 10 per cent in revenues.”

“Standing true to our slogan: Gateway to Dubai’s Prosperity, we keep developing and investing in advanced technologies to deliver the best smart customs services globally that add tangible value to our clients,” said Ahmed Mahboob Musabih, CEO of Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation, and Director General of Dubai Customs. The advanced systems at Dubai Customs completed 12.7 million customs declarations in eight months; an average of 55,000 daily. Customs transactions in H1 2021 grew 53.4 per cent to 11.2 million.

China maintained its position as Dubai’s biggest trading partner in H1 2021 with Dh86.7 billion worth of trade compared to Dh66.3 billion in H1 2020, up 30.7 per cent yoy. Trade with India grew 74.5 per cent yoy to Dh67.1 billion from Dh38.5 billion. Trade with the USA rose 1.0 per cent to Dh32 billion yoy from Dh31.7. Saudi Arabia came fourth with Dh30.5 billion up 26 per cent yoy from Dh24.1 billion, followed by Switzerland with Dh24.8 up 2.3 per cent yoy from Dh24.2 billion.

The total share of the five biggest trade partners in H1 2020 amounted toDh241.21 billion compared to Dh185.06 billion in H1 2020, up 30.34 per cent. Gold topped the list of commodities in Dubai’s H1 external trade at Dh138.8 billion (19.2 per cent of Dubai trade), followed by telecoms at Dh94 billion (13 per cent). Diamonds came third in the list at Dh57.3 billion (8.0 per cent), followed by jewellery at Dh34.1 billion (4.7 per cent), and vehicle trade at Dh28 billion (4.0 per cent).

Direct trade in H1 2021 totalled dh445.6 billion, up 39.5 per cent while trade through free zones reached Dh272 billion, up 19.8 per cent. Customs warehouse trade weighed in at Dh4.5 billion, up 8.1 per cent. Airborne trade accounted for Dh364.8 billion, jumping 46.15 per cent from Dh249.6 billion in H1 2020. Sea trade reached Dh247.5 billion, up 16.7 per cent compared to Dh212.18 billion, while land trade touched Dh110 billion, up 23.7 per cent compared to Dh88.8 billion.

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