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  October 7th, 2018 | Written by

Dubai non-oil foreign trade rises to $176 billion

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  • “Dubai’s competitiveness plays a key role in attracting investments from around the world.”
  • Foreign investments “seek to take advantage of Dubai’s position as a regional and international trading hub.”
  • Growth of Dubai’s non-oil foreign trade indicates trend toward revenue diversification.

Dubai’s non-oil foreign trade recorded $176 billion in the first half of 2018; an increase of $1.36 billion from 2017 figures.

Dubai’s re-exports registered a $6.5-billion increase and grew 14 percent to $55 billion, which reflects the robust and healthy position Dubai leads as a distinctive regional and international re-export hub, while imports touched $103 billion and exports totalled $18 billion.

The emirate’s free zones foreign trade scored an increase of 20 percent, $12 billion in the first half of 2018 to $70 billion. Re-export activity through free zones touched $30 billion; with a 31-percent increase from the same period in 2017, while exports through free zones made a 23-percent increase to $2 billion, and imports through free zones made $37 billion; an increase of 12 percent compared to the same period last year. Direct trade stood at $104 billion and customs warehouse trade weighed in at $1.6 billion.

Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council praised the growth and said, “Dubai’s competitiveness plays a key role in attracting investments from around the world, which seek to take advantage of Dubai’s position as a regional and international trading hub.”

Sheikh Hamdan added said that trade is one of the key sectors that drives Dubai’s growth as a major global trading hub, which is supported by the emirate’s long heritage of being a gateway for global trade.

“The current growth of Dubai’s non-oil foreign trade is an indication that we are on the right path of revenue diversification,” he said. “Dubai’s external trade growth reflects global economic trends, especially in the areas of communication and information technology. This is driven by the national economy’s focus on innovation and creativity, and our leadership in adopting artificial intelligence technologies in various sectors. There is no doubt that Expo 2020 will showcase our unique economic experience and will highlight our ability to establish global leadership across various development sectors. Such events help towards a better connected world.”

Sultan Ahmad Bin Sulayem, DP World Group chairman and CEO and chairman of the Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation, credited the performance of the foreign trade sector to Dubai’s advanced infrastructure and policies. He pointed out 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,” said Bin Sulayem. “For example, the AEO program 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 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 is creating seamless commercial links between the UAE and the rest of the world.”

“We work hard 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 programs such as the Smart Workspace, Mirsal 2, Risk Engine, Advanced Container Inspection System and Smart Customs Luggage Inspection System, amongst many others” he said.

Dubai’s airborne trade accounted for $82 billion while seaborne trade recorded $65 billion. Trade conducted through land transportation weighed in at $29 billion.

China maintained its position as Dubai’s biggest trading partner in the first half of 2018 with $19 billion worth of trade. This reflects the strong ties between China and the UAE which witnessed remarkable development underlined by the Chinese President’s recent state visit to the UAE. India came second with $15 billion, followed by the United States in the third place with $10.6 billion. Saudi Arabia remains the largest Arab trade partner to the UAE and comes as its fourth largest global trade partner with $8 billion.

Gold topped the list of high-value commodities in Dubai’s foreign trade in the first half of 2018 with $21 billion worth of trade. Next on the list was phones with $20 billion worth of trade, followed by jewellery ($14 billion), diamonds ($13 billion), and cars ($9 billion).