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Aden - Yasmine El Tohamy - Dubai's non-oil external trade 6 six per cent to just over Dh1 trillion mark in the first 9 months of 2019, with China, India and the US remaining the top three largest trading partners of the region's commercial and trade hub.
Official figures by Dubai Customs showed that exports rose 23 per cent to Dh118 billion, re-exports grew 4 per cent to Dh312 billion and imports climbed 3 per cent to Dh589 billion. On a quarterly basis, the third quarter saw trade growing 7 per cent to Dh343 billion while second-quarter trade activity grew 3 per cent to reach Dh337 billion. The first quarter's trade activity saw a 7 per cent growth to reach Dh339 billion; these are compared to the same periods in 2018.
"The strong performance of Dubai's foreign trade reflects the robust fundamentals of our economy and prepares us to take advantage of the new opportunities that will come in 2020 - the year that will mark a new push for transformational growth over the next 50 years," said Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai.
"We are confident our external trade sector will continue its strong growth momentum. Government teams are going above and beyond to develop new initiatives that will fast-track our trade growth. These include the Dubai Silk Road project, which will enhance Dubai's position as a leading trade and logistics hub," he added. "All our various achievements will also enable us to host an exceptional Expo 2020 and accelerate our growth and progress beyond the event."
Sultan bin Sulayem, DP World group chairman and CEO and chairman of Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation, said the strong growth delivered by non-oil foreign trade is a sign of how resilient the Dubai economy is. It also reflects Dubai's success in developing its manufacturing facilities.
"Dubai trade is agile and it has strong access to new markets, thanks to its reliability and transparency. This helps us with our upcoming projects that will be delivered in 2020 - the year of preparation for the next 50 years," he added.
Dubai's foreign trade out of free zones accounted for Dh439 billion, an 11 per cent or Dh45 billion increase year-on-year. Direct trade achieved a 2 per cent growth to reach Dh574 billion. Customs warehouse trade hit Dh6 billion, land trade grew by 11 per cent contributing Dh169 billion, sea trade increased by 5 per cent to Dh381 billion and air trade rose by 4 per cent, accounting for Dh469 billion.
China remained Dubai's largest trading partner, contributing Dh109 billion, a 6 per cent increase. India was the second-biggest, contributing Dh100 billion, a growth of 16 per cent per cent, followed by the US with Dh57 billion and Switzerland with Dh47 billion. Saudi Arabia maintained its position as Dubai's largest Arab trade partner. The country was its fifth-biggest partner globally with Dh42 billion worth of trade.
The trade of gold contributed Dh129 billion, growing by 17 per cent. The second-highest traded commodity by value was mobile phones, which grew 7 per cent to reach Dh119 billion. Trade in petroleum oils reached Dh68 billion while diamonds accounted for Dh63 billion.
Dubai's non-oil foreign trade volumes surged 22 per cent to 83 million tonnes in the first nine months of 2019. While the volume of re-exports skyrocketed 48 per cent to reach 13 million tons. Exports rose by 47 per cent to 14 million tonnes while imports grew by 13 per cent to 56 million tonnes.
Atik Munshi, senior partner at Crowe, said Dubai has the right recipe to leap forth to the next level of growth that any state can aspire for. "The key aspects in which Dubai is extremely strong are geopolitical stability and security, world-class infrastructure, technology-driven government and private sectors, almost a zero-tax environment and excellent connectivity. These will ensure that Dubai grows from strength to strength not only as a trading economy but a very strong contender in the services and manufacturing sector," Munshi said.
"With the regulators' focus on governance, Dubai is gaining high acceptability for multi-national companies as a preferred choice," he added.
Pankaj Mundra, co-founder and managing partner of Nimai Capital, says increase in consumption in China, India and major countries in Africa will fuel growth of external trade for Dubai as it host major traders who trade between Dubai and these emerging markets.
With regards to internal factors that will come into play and give fillip to the emirate's trade, Mundra said: "The much-awaited Expo 2020, expos taking place in Dubai World Trade Centre and the bigger balance sheets of merged banks to support trade with cheaper and enhance facilities to Dubai traders and exporters," Mundra added.
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