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Sat 14 Mar 2020 12:49 AM

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Dubai's non-oil foreign trade rises to $380bn despite headwinds

Dubai Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan hails 2019 trade performance, says progressing towards 2025 target of AED2trn

Dubai's non-oil foreign trade rises to $380bn despite headwinds

Sheikh Hamdan, Crown Prince of Dubai and chairman of The Executive Council.

Dubai’s non-oil foreign trade surged 6 percent last year to AED1.4 trillion ($380 billion) despite the headwinds from a global economic downturn, it has been announced.

Exports soared 22 percent to AED155 billion, re-exports grew by 4 percent to AED420 billion and imports rose by 3 percent to AED796 billion.

Spurred by plans to achieve a 2025 trade target of AED2 trillion, non-oil external trade last year grew 19 percent in volume to reach 109 million tons.

Sheikh Hamdan, Crown Prince of Dubai and chairman of The Executive Council, said: “Dubai’s external trade has contributed significantly to the emirate’s economic achievements, further raising its status as a global hub for trade, business and tourism, giving it a solid platform for growth in the next 50 years and creating the optimal conditions for more sustainable development across sectors.

“Dubai’s external trade sector is progressing steadily towards the 2025 trade target of AED2 trillion... All government entities are working seamlessly together to provide the best services, facilitate trade and foreign investments, and further develop infrastructure across the emirate, especially at airports and free zones, to galvanise its journey of excellence and enhance its role as a commercial bridge between the east and west.

"Furthermore, hosting mega-events such as Expo 2020 will provide opportunities for the international trade sector to explore new possibilities and expand growth.”

Dubai’s foreign trade out of free zones in 2019 was a major contributor to the overall increase, accounting for AED592 billion, a 11 percent increase year-on-year. Direct trade saw 2 percent growth to reach AED770 billion while customs warehouse trade hit AED9 billion.

Sultan bin Sulayem, DP World Group chairman and CEO and chairman of Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation, said: “Growth in Dubai’s external trade is the fruit of dedicated and well-planned work over the last few years, which helped us establish global leadership in different sectors.

"The future is promising and there are no limits when it comes to our expectations. We will keep growing and developing based on the latest and most advanced innovations and breakthroughs in AI smart applications following the vision and directives of our leadership."

China remained Dubai’s largest trading partner, contributing AED150 billion. India was the second biggest trading partner (AED135 billion), followed by the US (AED77.7 billion) and Switzerland (AED60 billion).

Saudi Arabia maintained its position as Dubai’s largest Arab trade partner and was the emirate’s fifth biggest partner globally, contributing AED56 billion.

The highest traded commodity by value in 2019 was gold, jewellery and diamonds which contributed AED370 billion, followed by phones with AED164 billion.