Dubai : A 23 per cent jump in exports has resulted in the UAE's non-oil trade growing 5 per cent to Dh171.7 billion in the first quarter, up from Dh164 billion in the first quarter of 2009, according to data provided by the Federal Customs Authority (FCA).
While imports dropped 2 per cent from Dh113.6 billion to Dh113.4 billion, exports jumped 23 per cent from Dh14.1 billion to Dh17.4 billion.
The value of re-exports rose 13 per cent from Dh36.3 billion in the first quarter of 2009, to Dh40.9 billion in the same period of 2010.
The FCA said that the UAE's non-oil trade rose 13 per cent to Dh63 billion in March from Dh55.6 billion in January.
Imports in March rose 9 per cent to Dh40.8 billion compared to Dh37.4 billion in January.
On an average, UAE ports and customs handled 24,000 tonnes of cargo daily and 3,000 tonnes per hour in the first quarter.
Khalid Ali Al Bustani, Acting General Manager of the Federal Customs Authority, said that the growth in the UAE's non-oil trade reflects the positive image of the UAE economy.
"The continued upward trend in the UAE's foreign trade in the first quarter is a good indication that the UAE has achieved targeted economic growth levels during the current year," he said.
India, China, the US, Japan, Germany, UK, Italy, Switzerland, France and Malaysia respectively topped the list of exporting countries to the UAE in March at Dh24.6 billion or 60 per cent of the UAE's imports.
Salma Hareb, CEO of Economic Zones World, said: "The growth has been driven by long term commitment to industrial, trade and logistics sectors, providing highly valued infrastructure, tools and services, consistently."
Economic Zones World manages the Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafz) — one of the world's biggest free zones — which hosts more than 6,500 companies.
Data compiled from the Economist Intelligence Unit, International Monetary Fund and the Dubai Statistics Department shows that Jafz's growth over the last 15 years in terms of the number of companies is three times that of the UAE's GDP.
It outpaces the rate of growth of Dubai's GDP by nearly one and a half times.
"Jafz has catered to this trend over the last two years with additional infrastructure, multiple investment models for customers to choose from, and by bringing in the dedicated build-to-suit capability, through its sister company Gazeley," Hareb said.
Over 570 new facilities have been leased in the first quarter, up 63 per cent over the same period last year.