Dubai experienced significant growth in foreign, non-oil trade in 2019, and reached Dh1.37 trillion. This marks the completion of a successful decade, which saw the state increase its external trade by 70%.

Dubai’s external non-oil trade flourished in 2019, growing by 6% from the previous year. This takes the external trade value to Dh1.371 trillion, with the state being on track to hit its 2025 target of Dh2trillion.

Dubai has experienced 52% growth in this sector since 2010, largely by moving into alternative markets. This then compensated for slower growth in other more established markets.

Rises across the board

Dubai reported rises in a number of areas:
-    Exports increased by 22% (Dh155 billion)
-    Re-exports rose by 4% (Dh420 billion)
-    Imports grew by 3% (Dh796 billion)

Examining the increase in terms of volume, not value, the increases were:
-    A 48% rise in re-exports (to 17 million tonnes)
-    A 45% increase in exports (to 19 million tonnes)
-    A 9% rise in imports (to 72 million tonnes)

Overall, external trade rose from 91 million to 109 million tonnes (from 2018 to 2019).

Key trading partners and goods

Dubai is generating considerable interest from investors around the world. At present, the state’s top partner is China, which in 2019, contributed Dh150 billion. India came close behind (Dh135 billion), then the USA at Dh78 billion. Saudi Arabia remained Dubai’s most significant Arab partner, and contributed Dh56 billion.

The key goods being invested were:
-    Gold (Dh170 billion)
-    Mobile phones (Dh164 billion)
-    Jewellery (Dh117 billion)

Dubai’s free zones were a significant contributing factor to the state’s success story. They accounted for dh592 billion, which was an 11% increase on the previous year.

Free zones vital for success

In a recent speech, Sultan Bin Sulayem, DP World Group CEO and chairman (plus chairman of Ports, Customs and the Free Zone Corporation), emphasised the importance of the free zones. He highlighted their advantageous infrastructures, which enabled businesses to benefit from a range of facilities, and various incentives.

This has been instrumental in attracting investment from around the world.

“The future is promising,” he said. “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.”

Bin Sulayem also stated that Dubai Customs would be focusing on further increasing trade in the future, while offering an even better service to its clients. Their World Logistics Passport promotes better connectivity in Dubai, and enables the sharing of ideas, expertise and development with other partner countries.