Dubai: Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza), a subsidiary of global ports operator DP World, has consolidated its position as a major trading and logistics hub by growing its non-oil foreign trade by 17 per cent from 23.9 million to 27.9 million tonnes worth $80.2 billion (Dh294.5 billion) in 2016.

“The value and volume of trade through Jafza underlines the strength of the national economy and its ability to adapt to global trading conditions, create investment opportunities and open up new markets to exports from the UAE,” Sultan Ahmad Bin Sulayem, group chairman and CEO of DP World, said in a statement on Sunday.

China has maintained its position as Jafza’s largest trading partner with $11.3 billion worth of trade during the year, with many Chinese companies in Dubai making use of its logistics capability to re-export goods and products.

Saudi Arabia was the second largest Jafza trading partner with $7 billion, while Vietnam was third with $4.3 billion through the importation of electronics and electrical appliances, followed by the United States with a trade volume of $3.7 billion.

Machinery, electronics and electrical goods accounted for 49 per cent of Jafza’s total trade, with Jebel Ali Port’s ability to handle heavy equipment playing a key role, coupled with high consumer demand in the sector.

The petrochemicals, oil and gas sector had 16 per cent of total trade, followed by the food & FMCG sector (8 per cent), textiles and garments (7 per cent), and automotive and spare parts (6 per cent).

Trade with the Asia-Pacific region, meanwhile, came in at $32.4 billion, followed by the Middle East at $27.2 billion, the European continent at $9.9 billion, the Americas region at $5.5 billion, and Africa at $5 billion.