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Dubai's non-oil trade stable at Dh1.3 trillion despite global headwinds

Waheed Abbas/Dubai
Filed on March 11, 2019 | Last updated on March 11, 2019 at 05.55 am
Dubais non-oil trade stable at Dh1.3 trillion despite global headwinds


China maintained its position as Dubai's biggest trading partner in 2018.

Despite a slowdown in the Chinese economy, Dubai's non-oil foreign trade remained stable at Dh1.3 trillion last year, cementing the emirate's position as a stable hub for global trade.

Latest figures released by Dubai Customs on Sunday revealed that China remained the emirate's largest trading partner.

Global trade is facing headwinds due to a slowdown in China's economy and a trade war between the world's two largest economies.

The International Monetary Fund said in its latest report that the global expansion has weakened, revising its outlook because of the negative effects of tariff increases enacted in the US and China last year. Both countries have imposed new tariffs worth billions of dollars as a result of a trade dispute between the two economies.

According to Dubai Customs, re-exports grew 12 per cent to Dh402 billion while imports totalled Dh770 billion and exports reached Dh127 billion. Free zone trade grew 23 per cent to Dh532 billion while direct trade touched Dh757 billion. Customs warehouse trade weighed in at Dh10.4 billion.

Airborne trade rose 3.2 per cent to Dh612 billion, sea trade rose 3.4 per cent to Dh483 billion and land trade touched Dh205 billion.

Mobile phones topped the list in emirate's total foreign trade in 2018 with Dh150 billion. Next on the list was gold at Dh146 billion, followed by jewellery at Dh106 billion, diamonds at Dh94 billion, and cars with Dh65 billion.

China maintained its position as Dubai's biggest trading partner in 2018 with Dh139 billion worth of trade. India came in second with Dh116 billion, followed by the USA in third place with Dh81 billion. Saudi Arabia continued to be Dubai's largest Arab trade partner and its fourth largest global trade partner with Dh55 billion, followed by Switzerland in fifth place with Dh49 billion.

"We are committed to develop our government services so that we can become a world-class model for future governments based on knowledge, innovation and advanced AI applications. We are currently developing a virtual commercial zone, the first of its kind in the region, which will allow investors to open bank accounts and grant e-residencies according to the highest standards of international laws and regulations," Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council, said.

Sultan bin Sulayem, chairman, DP World and CEO and Chairman of Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation, said Dubai's non-oil foreign trade is flexible and agile enough to overcome different global economic crunches.

"Despite a number of challenges that world trade has been through in the last decade, Dubai's trade grew 72 per cent from 2009 and 2018, and the volume of goods in this period grew 44 per cent. This again reflects Dubai's ability to attract global trade and investments and to keep up with changes, especially the rise of Asia and China as a global export hub. Dubai is a very important link in this global activity," said bin Sulayem.

The number of transactions made by Dubai Customs in 2018 rose to 9.6 million compared to 9 million in 2017, and the number of companies registered at Dubai Customs rose to 223,000 companies.


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