Dubai’s non-oil external trade rebounds
Dubai, UAE - Dubai’s non-oil foreign trade strongly rebounded from the challenges posed by the global economic repercussions of COVID-19 and the suspension of business activity by countries across the world in the first half of last year to record high growth in 2020.
Boosted by its resilience to global headwinds, as well as its rapid economic recovery and revitalised growth in the second half of the year, Dubai’s foreign trade in 2020 touched AED1.182tn. Total trade volume in 2020 reached 100mn tonnes, driven by a 6 per cent year-onyear volume growth in the second half of the year. Overall value of exports in 2020 grew 8 per cent to AED167bn while imports accounted for AED686bn and re-exports totalled AED329bn.
Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council, said, “The exceptional growth performance of Dubai’s external trade sector reflects the emirate’s impressive resilience and its ability to recover and grow amidst international crises. Dubai has set an example for the world in dealing with both the economic and health repercussions of the pandemic. We were able to quickly renew our momentum of growth and reestablish our global leadership in various sectors.”
“This growth has been made possible by robust governance and the stimulus packages the Dubai government launched under the directives of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. The stimulus packages included a number of initiatives to support the foreign trade sector and enable it to continue playing its important role in national economic growth. The strong trade performance signals a positive start to the ‘Year of the 50th’ and the efforts to achieve the goals of the UAE Centennial Plan 2071,” noted Sheikh Hamdan.
“The external trade sector’s distinctive growth in 2020 will boost the implementation of Dubai’s five-year plan to expand its external trade to AED2tn, consolidating the emirate’s position as a leading regional and global trade and investment hub. Dubai’s new international trade map will see an expansion in air and sea navigation routes, with 200 new cities set to be added to the emirate’s existing network of 400 cities,” he added. The Prince said Dubai will continue its efforts to generate new practical and creative solutions to tide over challenges and turn them into new opportunities.
Sultan bin Sulayem, DP World group chairman & CEO and chairman of Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation said, “Dubai’s external trade sector impressively overcame the impact of a global trade downturn in 2020. With the gradual opening of borders, Dubai’s trade volumes started recovering and growing quickly in the second half of 2020. In the third quarter, Dubai’s trade surged 34 per cent compared to the second quarter, and in the fourth quarter, trade grew by 7 per cent to AED326bn compared to the third quarter.
“Trade volumes in the second half of 2020 expanded by 6 per cent compared to the corresponding period in 2019. Overall, 100mn tonnes of goods were traded in 2020, which reflects the rapid recovery of this sector. This rebound is now spurring greater growth in 2021. The resumption of trade with Qatar, the start of trade engagement with Israel, the positive spin-offs from hosting EXPO 2020 and the launch of the Dubai 2040 Urban Master Plan will all contribute to accelerating the emirate’s growth momentum.”
Dubai’s direct trade in 2020 totalled AED711bn, while trade through free zones reached AED464bn and customs warehouse trade weighed in at AED7bn. Airborne trade accounted for AED559bn. Sea trade reached AED421bn while land trade touched AED203bn.
China maintained its position as Dubai’s largest trading partner in 2020 with AED142bn worth of trade. India came in second with AED89bn, followed by the US in third place with AED61bn. Saudi Arabia continued to be Dubai’s largest Gulf and Arab trade partner and its fourth largest global trade partner with AED54bn worth of trade, followed by Iraq in the fifth place with AED41bn.
Gold topped the list of commodities in Dubai’s 2020 external trade at AED213bn, followed by telecoms at AED153bn. Diamonds came third with AED64bn, followed by petroleum oils with AED57bn and jewellery with AED47bn.