By Andy Sambidge
Trade figures releases as forum meets in Paris to discuss further economic co-operation.
Bilateral non-oil trade between Dubai and France increased by 26.7 per cent in the first half of 2008, compared with the same period in 2007.
The figures released by the Statistics Department of Dubai World showed that trade between the two countries amounted to 7.47 billion dirhams (about $2 billion) during the first six months of this year.
And it is expected that the First Gulf-France Economic Forum being held in Paris this week will further strengthen the economic co-operation between France and the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) states, particularly Dubai, the region's leading trade hub, news agency WAM reported.
Organised by the GCC, the conference is part of efforts exerted by the Gulf countries to promote economic development, openness, diversification of income sources and to attract direct investments.
The forum is held at a time when negotiations are gaining momentum over establishing Free Trade Agreement between the GCC countries and the European Union.
Discussions have been going on for more than two decades to reach a final understanding on the issue.
Dubai's imports from France formed the lion's share of the total half-yearly trade, amounting to about 7 billion dirhams compared with 5.5 billion dirhams in the same period of 2007.
Perfumes, after-shave lotions and eau de toilette etc topped the import list amounting 734 million dirhams (10.4 per cent), followed by jewellery and precious metals.
During the first six months of 2008, Dubai's exports to France amounted to about 238 million dirhams, compared with about 224 million dirhams in the first half of 2007.
Jewellery and precious metals topped the list, followed by ceramics, glass, tiles and paint derivatives.