Monthly exports and re-exports were greatest in May, with a monthly tally of Dhs28bn, which is the highest amount in any single month since the founding of Dubai Chamber in 1965 while the monthly figure of around Dhs20bn in February was the lowest during the 12-month period.
The annual data showed the number of certificates of origin (COs) issued for the year totalled 747,941 which is an increase of 7% compared to 698,056 COs issued in 2011. The month with the highest number of COs was May with 69,460, while the month with the lowest was August with 56,498 certificates issued.
H.E. Hamad Buamim, Director General, Dubai Chamber, said that Dubai Chamber's new strategy of exploring key global markets had helped its members in the trade community expand their operations overseas.
"Our annual figures show that 2012 was a very successful year as our members achieved unprecedented monthly export figures. Trade, along with tourism, logistics and financial services, continue to play vital roles as key drivers of the emirate's economic growth," said H.E. Buamim.
He said that Dubai Chamber had seen a 20% rise in its annual new membership, from 10,634 in 2011 to 12,733 in 2012, taking its total membership to over 140,000. This, His Excellency said, speaks volumes about the favourable business climate and ease of doing business that Dubai provides for companies from across the world.
"Our increase in members shows that foreign investors have confidence in Dubai, due to the unconditional support provided by H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice-President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai to the business community," he said.
His Excellency said the highlight of the year for Dubai Chamber was opening its first ever international representative office in Baku, Azerbaijan, in order to facilitate two-way trade and investment flows between Dubai and Central Asia.
"This was a major step for Dubai Chamber and one that we are very proud of. In 2013 we are ready to follow this up with two more office openings in Kurdistan and Ethiopia and we will be examining the potential of various other promising markets of the world.
"This particular initiative is directed at improving the competitiveness of Dubai businesses abroad, while enhancing the business environment of the emirate. For this, Dubai Chamber is currently concentrating on enriching its global profile by playing a larger role in international trade and commerce through its association with world trade bodies," added H.E. Buamim.
Playing its role as a business facilitator:The Annual Report 2012 indicates that as part of its mission to represent, support and protect the interests of the business community, Dubai Chamber played a major role linking Dubai's public and private sectors.
A new decree issued in November by H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum will allow the non-profit organisation to better represent the business council and groups operating under its umbrella while the councils will now enjoy the status of legal entities which will provide a boost to the business sector in the emirate.
The new decree grants Dubai Chamber additional responsibilities in promoting Dubai internationally and in attracting more global businesses to Dubai while supporting the emirate's growth as a an international centre of strategic events, exhibitions and conferences.
66 ATA Carnets issued during 2012Dubai Chamber issued 66 ATA Carnets in 2012 with an invoice value of Dhs34m. This is a 69% increase on 2011 when 39 Carnets for goods and commodities worth Dhs133m were issued between April and December. Dubai Chamber launched the international customs document in the UAE in April 2011.
Studying federal, local and regional draft lawsIn 2012, Dubai Chamber reviewed 41 federal and local laws and ministerial decisions. Said drafts include a law concerning foreign investments, a draft law concerning Financial Restructuring and Bankruptcy, and Ministry of Labour decisions pertaining to wages protection, work permits and classification of establishments as well as a law amending Criminalisation of Money Laundering - Law No:4/2002 and Cabinet Decision Pertaining to Local Products' Priority in Government Purchases, 2012.
Dubai Chamber also studied four draft federal and local legislations including Draft Federal Law concerning Protection of Trade Secrets (2011), Draft Federal Law concerning the Small and Medium Enterprises (2012), Draft Federal Law regulating the Profession of Auditors and Draft Law regulating partnership between the public and private sectors of the Emirate of Dubai (2011).
Hosting visiting delegationsDubai Chamber hosted 192 visiting trade delegations in 2012 comprised of over 1,061 businessman, government officials and senior trade leaders in comparison to 187 delegations of 1,093 delegates in 2011. Meanwhile, Dubai Chamber participated in 62 events in 41 cities of 28 countries and organised four quarterly business councils and business groups' roundtable discussions in addition to organising 33 business matching events in Dubai.
Dubai Chamber also took outbound delegations comprised of over 20 delegates each to the Consumer Electronics Show 2012 in Las Vegas, Surat in India, Ethiopia in Africa, the SMM trade fair in Hamburg and Baku in Azerbaijan, where they discussed cooperation of interest for Dubai businesses in various sectors.
Handling commercial disputesDubai Chamber received 553 mediation cases in 2012 and settled 188 cases.
On its part, the Dubai International Arbitration Centre (DIAC) received 379 cases in 2012, compared to 440 cases in 2011. DIAC works to raise awareness of the importance of arbitration and mediation in the settlement of commercial disputes regionally and globally.
Major events organisedOne of Dubai Chamber's flagship events, the Business Gala International, which was attended by over 1,000 members of the diplomatic corps and business community, served as an open forum for the representatives of the business councils and groups to interact with H.E. Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State and Managing Director of Expo 2020 Dubai.
The Gala shed light on the important role the private sector can play in supporting Dubai's bid to host Expo 2020, as well outlining the economic benefits Dubai will reap following a successful bid.
In 2012 Dubai Chamber also organised, the Partnership to Invest in Future Syria conference, under the patronage of the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was attended by more than 500 regional and international delegates. The conference achieved its objectives of helping build relationships between Syrian businessmen and entrepreneurs from around the world.
Dubai Chamber also organised the UAE-Turkey Business Forum, the UAE-Latvia Business Forum, the UAE-Poland Business Forum and the UAE-Italy Business Forum, which were attended by the President or Prime Minister of their respective country. Dubai Chamber also hosted a high-profile ministerial and business delegation from Portugal.
With its focus on exploring new markets, Dubai Chamber organised a number of Country Focus Briefings, putting the spotlight on Kazakhstan, Kurdistan and Qatar. It also held the Talk Business at Breakfast initiative aimed at bridging the gap between the public and private sectors. This event brought the private sector face-to-face with top officials from Dubai Airport Freezone, Dubai Municipality, UAE Ministry of Economy and Dubai Expo 2020.
Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Business Award ceremonyFourteen UAE-based companies received 15 awards, including the Most Outstanding Performance award for their excellence in institutional performance at the 6th session of the prestigious Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Business Award. A high-profile ceremony was attended by H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, and H.H. Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai.
Responsible businessDubai Chamber continued its surge into 2012 as its Centre for Responsible Business launched the Sustainability Network Task Groups, as well as the Employee Volunteering Management Guidebook. The Centre also organised the Dubai Dialogue: Corporate Governance Conference and Value Creation, the second Sustainability Network CEO CSR Seminar and a number of training workshops and seminars advocating responsible business practices in Dubai.
New services and initiativesIn its quest to offer the best services to its customers, Dubai Chamber joined hands with the National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD) to foster the growth of SMEs by providing finance facilities of up to $100m to Dubai Chamber's SME members.
At the same time, Dubai Chamber launched "Tejar Dubai" a new initiative offering a specialised programme and platform for youth to help them establish their own small-to-medium-sized business, and "Fursa, Together We Shape Your Future", an Emiratisation initiative to recruit and train new UAE national graduates. Seven Emirati graduates were recruited in 2012. Dubai Chamber continues to support investments in education through its University of Dubai initiative, which is the leading business university in the UAE.
Dubai Chamber also upgraded its e-services by deploying the next generation Oracle Fusion Applications, which will heighten end-user productivity across the organisation's employees and members, and accelerate user adoption through an intuitive interface. Meanwhile, it launched an online application mediation service to facilitate settlement procedures of trade disputes through mediation.
The strength of Dubai Chamber's associations in 2012 went up to 67 including 26 sector-specific business groups and 41 country-specific business councils as the Lawyers & Legal Advisors Business Group, as well as the Somalia Business Council were established under the umbrella of Dubai Chamber.