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Dubai: Dubai’s non-oil trade in 2018 reached Dh1.3 trillion, roughly the same as in 2017, according to a report from WAM on Sunday, despite “challenges facing global trade growth resulting from trade tensions between major economic powers and a global growth slowdown that has led to currency rate volatility in developing countries.”

According to Dubai Customs, trade through free zones in 2018 grew by 23 per cent to Dh532 billion. Direct trade touched Dh757 billion while customs warehouse trade weighed in at Dh10.4 billion. Re-exports grew 12 per cent to Dh402 billion while imports totalled Dh770 billion and exports Dh127 billion.

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“The current growth of Dubai’s non-oil foreign trade is an indication that we are on the right path of revenue diversification in alignment with the values and standards outlined in the 50-Year Charter,” said Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council.

“The Dubai Silk Road Strategy supports decades of successful investment in developing the emirate’s infrastructure. In line with the vision of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, we are committed to develop our government services so that we can become a world-class model for future governments based on knowledge, innovation and advanced AI applications. We are currently developing a virtual commercial zone, the first of its kind in the region, which will allow investors to open bank accounts and grant e-residencies according to the highest standards of international laws and regulations,” he said.

Sultan Bin Sulayem, DP World Group Chairman and CEO and Chairman of Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation, said Dubai’s non-oil foreign trade is flexible and agile enough to overcome different global economic ‘crunches’. “Despite a number of challenges that world trade has been through in the last decade, Dubai’s trade grew 72 per cent from 2009 and 2018, and the volume of goods in this period grew 44 per cent.”

Bin Sulayem added that the number of transactions made by Dubai Customs in 2018 rose to 9.6 million compared to nine million in 2017, and the number of companies registered at Dubai Customs rose to 223,000 companies. Airborne trade rose 3.2 per cent to reach Dh612 billion and sea trade rose 3.4 per cent to Dh483 billion while land trade touched Dh205 billion.

Phones of all types topped the list of commodities in Dubai’s foreign trade in 2018 with Dh150 billion. Next on the list was gold with Dh146 billion worth of trade, followed by jewellery at Dh106 billion, diamonds at Dh94 billion, and cars with Dh65 billion.

China maintained its position as Dubai’s biggest trading partner in 2018 with Dh139 billion worth of trade. India came in second with Dh116 billion worth of trade, followed by the USA in third place with Dh81 billion. Saudi Arabia continued to be Dubai’s largest Arab trade partner and its fourth largest global trade partner with Dh55 billion, followed by Switzerland in fifth place with Dh49 billion.