Trading in leaps and bounds
Dubai’s oldest govt unit plays key role in non-oil sector’s soaring growth.
Dubai’s non-oil external trade has doubled about 10 times between 2000 and 2019, rising from Dh143 billion in 2000 to Dh1.271 trillion in 2019, with the first half of 2020 alone recording around Dh551 billion, according to figures released by Dubai Customs on the occasion of the UAE’s 49th National Day celebrations.
The data reflects the significant role the oldest government department played in developing and enhancing Dubai and the national economy through the years.
In its long journey, Dubai Customs has gone through different stages of development. In the 1970s, it established customs centres to control Dubai’s sea, air and land ports, including at Dubai Creek, Port Rashid and Jebel Ali. With the development of airports, centres were established at Dubai International Airport and Al Maktoum International Airport, among others.
Ahmed Mahboob Musabih, director-general of Dubai Customs, said: “Dubai Customs keeps developing and evolving to keep abreast with the latest technologies, provide its clients with the most advanced services and maintain its global leading status. We are celebrating the 49th National Day with the development of new initiatives and projects that will help catapult us to even higher status and enable us to serve our clients in the best possible way.”
As of April 1, 2001, Dubai Customs went into a new development phase with the launch of Ports Customs and Free Zone Corporation. After His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, assumed his position on January 4, 2006, Customs witnessed significant development in performance and services, which led the UAE to first place on the Customs Efficiency Index.
Dubai Customs has facilitated procedures through a number of leading projects. Towards efficient communication with its clients, it organises regular meetings through the Dubai Customs Consultative Council, and it has launched the Ertebaat initiative for coordination with diplomatic missions and foreign businesses groups.
Customs transactions completed by Dubai Customs grew 44 per cent in five years (2015-19) to 13 million transactions at the end of 2019 compared to 8.9 million in 2015. The growth reflects the resilience of the national economy and the pivotal role Dubai plays in global trade.
Customs transactions in the first half of 2020 grew 41 per cent to 7.252 million transactions compared to 5.138 million in the corresponding period last year.
Dubai Customs launched the Authorised Economic Operator (AEO), which helps member companies with better access to the markets. More than 60 per cent of customs transactions (4.4 million) were completed through the programme in the first half of 2020. There are now 77 companies, who are members of Dubai Customs’ AEO programme, achieving 36 per cent saving in operational costs and faster clearance by 53 per cent.
With regards to innovation, Dubai Customs has developed 237 innovations since 2010, including 32 in 2020.
Another important initiative is the launch of the Virtual Corridor, which enables the movement of goods faster, easier and cheaper. Around 324,435 customs transactions were completed through the initiative in 2018.
In 2005, the organisation established the IPR Department, which plays its role in protecting society from counterfeited brands, and for this, it launched a number of initiatives to raise awareness around the intellectual property rights.
The Virtual Stock Guarantee was also launched by Dubai Customs to support re-export activity from free zones to external markets. More than 18,000 companies based in 24 free zones and 37 customs warehouses can benefit from the facility. Also, customs warehouse companies willing to use it to re-export their goods solely through Dubai’s air and seaports and UAE land exits. — Wam
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