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Dubai exports prove mettle during pandemic, outlook promising

Waheed Abbas/Dubai
Filed on June 24, 2020 | Last updated on June 25, 2020 at 11.47 am
In 2019, Dubai's exports skyrocketed 22 per cent to Dh155 billion, re-exports grew 4 per cent to Dh420 billion and imports rose 3 per cent to Dh796 billion.

Remarkable external trade growth witnessed in 2019, spurred by efforts to achieve 2025 trade target of Dh2T

The outlook for Dubai's exports is promising as the emirate performed well during the Covid-19 pandemic period and played a key role in maintaining stable supplies, especially of food and hygiene products, not just in the UAE but across the region.

Dubai saw remarkable external trade growth in 2019, spurred by its efforts to achieve its 2025 trade target of Dh2 trillion. Non-oil foreign trade rose 6 per cent to reach Dh1.37 trillion last year despite headwinds from an intensified global economic downturn. Exports skyrocketed 22 per cent to Dh155 billion, re-exports grew by 4 per cent to Dh420 billion and imports rose by 3 per cent to Dh796 billion.

Saed Al Awadi, CEO of Dubai Exports, said Dubai's export figures are promising and in the right direction as the emirate continued to witness good air and sea cargo trade despite some glitches to land transport due to Covid-19.

"There was some difficulty in understanding [consequences] initially related to the pandemic but we were ready for any challenges. Dubai and its businesses are very agile. During the pandemic, we looked at the supply chain in the region more than global, and as a result we saw greater movement of essential products," Al Awadi said during a webinar hosted by Dubai Economy in partnership with Khaleej Times.

A large number of exporters and trading community members attended the "Market Dialogue" webinar.

During the pandemic, the Dubai government launched several economic packages to help the business community. This was in addition to several measures that were introduced by banks to air businesses.

While sharing details of how the emirate overcame the pandemic's challenges to maintain good trade flow between Dubai and other countries, he said: "One of the most important areas was to talk to exporters and industry bodies and we kept this channel of communication open. As a result we were able to learn about problems that our companies were experiencing. We also had a team dedicated to solve problems of exporters."

He added: "At both the federal and local level, we ensured that if supplies were impacted due to the virus, we were agile in finding solutions such as increasing orders from different exporters. We looked at ensuring the security of several products, especially essential products, from manufacturers."

During the pandemic, Al Awadi said one of key priorities was revolved to ensure that the time for approvals from the authorities should not impact the trading of certain supplies such as hygiene products, food, and medical products. It was not just for the UAE, but for the whole Middle East region.

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