Dubai: Exports by companies registered with the UAE’s free zones amounted to Dh225.5 billion ($61.39 billion) in 2017, a growth of 6.6 per cent from the previous year, according to the UAE Central Bank.

The free zone exports accounted for 19.5 per cent of the country’s total exports during 2017 and 16 per cent of the trade balance.

The past three years saw some discrepancy in the free zone export volume, which reached Dh221.3 billion in 2015, before declining to Dh211.4 billion in 2016 and then rebounding significantly last year.

The UAE, which has one of the highest numbers of free zones in the world, currently has 45 zone including 10 under construction. Among this 45, more than 30 are in Dubai.

There are more than 3,500 free zones spread across 130 countries handle $3.5 trillion (Dh12.8 trillion) worth of exports annually, according to the latest report by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, OECD. With global exports reaching $15.46 trillion, the 22.63 per cent of all export cross through freezones.

Free zones in the Middle East handle $552 billion worth of exports.