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Dubai’s non-oil foreign trade reached AED327 billion in Q1 2017

Dubai’s non-oil foreign trade grew 2.7 per cent to reach AED327 billion in the first quarter of 2017 compared to AED318bn in the same quarter of 2016, according to data published by Dubai Customs.

Commenting on the results, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council, His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum praised the growth in Dubai’s non-oil trade, and said that Dubai has once again proved its ability and readiness to overcome all challenges. “Dubai has been able to offset the impact of key challenges including major currency fluctuations and slower global economic growth, and increase its non-oil foreign trade as well as cement its position as a regional and global business hub,” His Highness said.

“Dubai has achieved this growth thanks to the guidance of Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Sheikh Mohammed vision for the future along with a number of initiatives such as Dubai 10X, which aims to place Dubai ten years ahead of all other cities, and the ‘UAE Centennial Plan 2071’ have inspired a series of innovative and creative initiatives that will boost the UAE’s economy.

These initiatives also support the goal of ensuring the happiness of people and making Dubai a global leader in many key sectors,” His Highness said. “We seek to enhance the UAE’s competiveness by developing commercial and customs services that bring significant financial benefits for all those that choose Dubai as a hub for their operations,” Sheikh Hamdan added.

Imports accounted for the lion’s share of non-oil foreign trade at AED201bn (three per cent growth) while exports accounted for AED35bn and re-exports AED91bn (five per cent growth).

The volume of Dubai’s external non-oil trade reached 24 million tons, while imports reached 15.84m tons, re-exports 4.24m tons, and exports 3.84m tons.

Direct trade grew 3.5 per cent to AED209bn in the first quarter of 2017, while Free Zone trade accounted for AED108.5bn. Customs warehouse trade grew 31 per cent in the first quarter to reach AED9.1bn compared to the same period in 2016.

Meanwhile, Dubai’s non-oil foreign trade conducted through land transportation grew 14.7 per cent to reach AED61bn in the first quarter while sea trade accounted for AED118bn, and air trade reached AED147.3 growing 1.1 per cent.

DP World Group Chairman and CEO and Chairman of Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation, Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem said that Dubai Customs was the first to introduce many advanced systems and programmes in support of Dubai’s preparations to host Dubai Expo 2020.

“We are offering a plethora of facilities and advanced services to traders and investors that will make their experience of doing business with Dubai memorable. For example, the AEO programme has successfully taken off and continues to be implemented across the UAE under the aegis of the Federal Customs Authority. The new economic scheme follows the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, towards boosting the performance of the UAE’s foreign trade to better secure the UAE’s post-oil future. The AEO programme will create seamless commercial links between the UAE and the rest of the world,” he added.

“We are striving to enhance the competitiveness of the UAE and Dubai by offering unique advantages and developing customs services and product offerings. This is why we launched a number of pioneering programmes such as the Smart Workspace, Mirsal 2, Risk Engine, Advanced Container Inspection System and Smart Customs Luggage Inspection System, amongst many others” he said.

Bin Sulayem added that making customers happy is a priority for Dubai Customs, as part of which it launched the new seven-star Mina Rashid customs centre. The initiative was inspired by the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

“We won the first place on the happiness index last year scoring 96.2 per cent, and this is evident in the volume and results of 2.329m declarations carried out during the first three months of 2017 and 9.1m declarations done in 2016”.

Asia topped the list of markets that conduct non-oil trade with Dubai, accounting for business worth AED208bn in Q1 2017. Europe came second with AED54bn, Africa third at AED32bn, North America fourth at AED25bn, South America fifth at AED4bn, and Oceania including Australia sixth at AED3bn.

China maintained its position as Dubai’s biggest partner in Q1 2017 with AED44.15bn worth of trade or 13.5 per cent of the total value, followed by India with AED25.4bn representing 7.8 per cent of Dubai’s total non-oil foreign trade, while the USA came third with a total AED22bn or 6.7 per cent of total trade.

Saudi Arabia is Dubai’s leading business partner among GCC and Arab countries, and its fourth biggest trade partner, with business worth AED15.22bn, representing 4.7 per cent of Dubai’s total trade with the world.

Mobile phones topped the list of high-value commodities in Dubai’s foreign trade, in the first three months of 2017, with AED45bn (14 per cent of total trade). This supports Dubai’s transformation into the world’s smartest city and its growth as a major regional and global trading hub for ICT products.

Next on the list was gold with AED39bn (12 per cent of total trade), followed by diamonds at AED26bn (eight per cent of total trade). Vehicles came fourth at AED18bn (five per cent of total trade), followed by jewelry at AED15bn (five per cent of total trade).