'2023 will be UAE's best economic year': Sheikh Mohammed announces new half-year record in non-oil foreign trade

The country's non-oil exports with the top 10 global trading partners increased by 22 per cent this year


Sahim Salim

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Published: Wed 30 Aug 2023, 12:36 PM

Last updated: Wed 30 Aug 2023, 9:51 PM

The UAE’s non-oil foreign trade grew to a record Dh1.239 trillion in the first half of 2023, a growth of 14.4 per cent compared to the same period last year with China, India and the US staying the top trading partners.

“The UAE’s non-oil export continues to set unprecedented records as it rose 22 per cent with the top 10 global trading partners in 2023... The bilateral trade with Türkiye recorded one of the highest growth rates in the first half of 2023, with 87.4 per cent growth compared to the same period in 2022,” His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, said while announcing the remarkable achievement.

While taking to X (previously Twitter), Sheikh Mohammed said “2023 will be the best economic year in the history of our country.”

The UAE’s non-oil foreign trade has seen a continued upward trend, achieving quarter-on-quarter growth since 2020. The growth is driven by multiple factors such as UAE’s investor-friendly policies and the signing of Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreements (CEPAs) with India, Indonesia, Turkey and many other countries which boost exports, re-exports and imports. This also improved the country’s overall economic profile.

Sheikh Mohammed added that the remarkable achievements of the UAE represent a success in the balanced trading policy under the leadership of the President, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

“The UAE will remain a major player in international trade, maintaining its position as a bridge linking the East with the West, and the North with the South,” added the UAE Vice-President.

Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Trade, said these results coincide with the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement programme, which is deepening ties with key markets around the world – including India and Türkiye, two of largest export destinations. “We can anticipate new milestones as more CEPAs are signed,” said Al Zeyoudi

Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy, last year said the country aimed to sign 26 CEPAs in the coming few years to boost foreign trade with major partners.

Exports, imports and re-exports

Data released by the Ministry of Economy showed non-oil exports grew 11.9 per cent to record Dh205 billion during the January-June 20023 period, exceeding the entire 2017 full year’s figures.

Re-exports and imports also recorded significant growth. The total value of UAE’s re-exports reached Dh341 billion during the first half of 2023, a 9.9 per cent growth on H1 2022. Imports increased to Dh693 billion, up 17.5 per cent during the comparative period.

Top trading partners

The Ministry of Economy said China has retained its position as the UAE’s leading global trading partner, followed by India, the US and Saudi Arabia. Türkiye, with whom the UAE signed a CEPA in March, came in fifth place, with Iraq, Switzerland, Japan, Hong Kong, and Russia completing the top 10.

Overall, the UAE's top ten trading partners witnessed a combined growth of 16.7 per cent in non-oil trade, while the rest of the markets accounted for 12.4 per cent growth.

Gold, aluminium, oils, cigarettes, copper wires and jewellery topped the list of the UAE's most prominent exports. Gold exports registered the highest growth of 40.7 per cent to reach Dh218.3 billion.


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