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Tue 9 Dec 2008 07:19 AM

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Exports predicted to fall in 2009

Trade with major markets to be hit by global crisis but exporters eye Indian opportunities.

Dubai's exports to major markets affected by the global economic crunch could see a drop-off in 2009, but trade with other countries such as India should cushion the impact, UAE-based exporters have said.

The amount of Dubai's exports in the third quarter of the year, which stood at 56.6 billion dirhams, is up year-on-year but down 1.7 on the previous quarter, UAE daily Gulf News reported on Tuesday.

According to the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, exports to Iran dropped by 15.4 per cent, while exports to other destinations, which include the United States, Yemen, Qatar, China, Algeria, Indonesia and American Samoa, posted an overall decline of 25.9 per cent.

However, apart from Qatar, exports to other GCC countries are still rising.

Paras Shahdadpuri, chairman of Dubai-based export firm Nikai Group of Companies, told the paper: "The world trade will shrink due to the financial crisis. To that extent, Dubai will also be affected because, after all, the UAE or Dubai is part of the global trade. But I don't think the impact is going to be very long."

He said that aside from the credit crunch, exporters and manufacturers in the UAE are grappling with the high cost of operations.

Dr Ram Buxani, group executive vice chairman of Cosmos, added that any decline in exports could be compensated by Dubai's trade with other countries like India, which is one of the city's top destinations for exports.

"Despite the crisis, India does not see Dubai as a risky trading partner and vice versa. Also, most of the things that are exported are consumer articles. People buy them. The property market may be affected here, but not the exports," he added.

Latest statistics from the Dubai Export Development Corporation showed that exports to India grew by 109 per cent between 2006 and 2007.

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