Dubai records Dh1.3 trillion trade in 2016

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Dubai: The value of Dubai’s non-oil foreign trade declared at Dh1.276 trillion for 2016, Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council, said on Wednesday.

Shaikh Hamdan said the overall value of trade had risen 70 per cent between 2009 and 2016. “We have achieved this growth despite the world credit crunch in 2008 that hit the world’s economies. The achievement underscores the emirate’s strong standing in the global trading landscape,” he said.

Last year’s imports were valued at Dh803 billion, with re-exports accounting for Dh330 billion and exports Dh143 billion.

China remained Dubai’s top trading partner, with bilateral trade worth Dh166 billion (13 per cent of the total). India came second with Dh94 billion (7.4 per cent) and the US, in third place, saw trade worth Dh86 billion (6.7 per cent).

Saudi Arabia was the top Arab and GCC trade partner, and fourth globally, with trade worth Dh52 billion (4.1 per cent of the global total).

Shaikh Hamdan said Dubai was able to diversify its foreign trade despite fluctuations in international trade in 2016, the slump in global markets and the decline in basic commodity prices.

“Thanks to the wise vision of President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan and His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, we are moving swiftly towards a ‘post-oil UAE’. We are further diversifying our economy and attracting more investment,” he added.

“Dubai’s trade sector continues to demonstrate strong performance and significantly contributes to the country’s economic growth. We will be a very successful host of Dubai Expo 2020. Dubai is transforming itself into the world’s smartest city and a knowledge-based economy as well as leading the UAE’s transition into a post-oil economy.”

Dubai’s direct trade stood at Dh830 billion in 2016, with free zone trade worth Dh411.44 billion and customs warehouse trade worth Dh34.76 billion.

In percentage terms, direct trade stood at 65 per cent of total trade, with free zones providing 32 per cent, and customs warehousing for 3 per cent.

Dubai saw an increase of 8.2 per cent in the bulk weight of trade goods in 2016, rising from 85 million tonnes in 2016 to 92 million tonnes.

Air cargo accounted for 46 per cent of trade by value (Dh592 billion), with sea freight accounting for 35 per cent (Dh452 billion) and inland trade 18 per cent (Dh232 billion).

Ahmad Bin Sulayem, DP World Chairman and CEO and Chairman of the Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation, said, “Thanks to the vision of Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid, the emirate succeeded in increasing the bulk weight of commodities in 2016 against all odds.

“Dubai could contain the impact of fluctuations in currency exchange rates and political turmoil and maintained a robust trade position. We are moving steadily to achieve the goals of UAE Vision 2021 and Dubai Plan 2021.”

Mobile phones and communication devices were the most traded commodity, with a total value of Dh167 billion (13.1 per cent of total trade). Gold was second, with a value of Dh156 billion (12 per cent), followed by diamonds (Dh97 billion, 7.6 per cent) and jewellery (Dh63 billion, 4.9 per cent).

Cars were the fifth most-traded product, with a value of Dh60 billion (4.7 per cent).