Federal Customs Authority chairman says figures represent 'positive and significant developments'
The UAE's non-oil foreign trade reached a total of AED1.6 trillion ($440 billion) in 2018, according to Federal Customs Authority figures.
In a statement on Tuesday, the authority said that direct non-oil foreign trade accounted for 63 percent (AED1 trillion) of the total value, while free zone trade and customs warehouses amounted to 36 percent (AED592.4 billion) and one percent (AED11 billion) respectively.
Ali Saeed Matar Al Neyadi, customs commissioner and chairman of the authority, said that the UAE non-oil foreign trade witnessed positive and significant developments in the year.
He said that the value of imports fell by 4.2 percent to reach AED938 billion compared to AED979 billion in the previous year.
At the same time, the growth continued in the export business at the rate of 1.8 percent while re-exports reached AED478.4 billion compared to AED470.1 billion last year.
UAE non-oil foreign trade with Arab states increased to AED341.2 billion.
Gold and aluminium trade in 2018 has consolidated the UAE industry's position in global markets, said Al Neyadi, adding that the value of the UAE's export of raw and half-finished gold increased to AED53.4 billion during the year, while raw aluminium reached AED18.6 billion.
GCC states' trade with the UAE represented a 14 percent (AED220.9 billion) share of total non-oil foreign trade while trade with Saudi Arabia reached AED107.4 billion in 2018, almost half, followed by Oman (AED46 billion), Kuwait (AED39.2 billion), and Bahrain (AED28.3 billion).
Globally, UAE non-oil foreign trade remained stable in 2018, with Asia and the Pacific Ocean region topping the list of partners with AED603.2 billion worth of trade.