Dubai’s Non-oil Foreign Trade hits 1 trillion in 2020

Dubai’s Non-oil Foreign Trade has hit 1.182 trillion in the past year even in spite of the economic slowdown caused by the pandemic.

With an aim to achieve its target of AED 2 trillion by 2025, Dubai’s Non-oil Foreign Trade has been focusing on rebounding from the repercussions caused by the global pandemic. Even as business activities across the world were shut for almost half of the months of 2020, the country was able to hit such high records.

Dubai had recorded foreign trade of AED 1.37 trillion in 2019, before the global pandemic hit. The emirate was able to overcome the repercussions of COVID-19 and had rapid recovery from the economic slowdown which shook the world by storm.

According to the official data which was released during the announcement, “Total trade volume in 2020 reached 100 million tons, driven by a six percent year-on-year volume growth in the second half of the year. Overall value of exports in 2020 grew eight percent to Dh167 billion while imports accounted for Dh686 billion and re-exports totaled Dh329 billion.”

Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council, said, Dubai has set an example for the rest of the world through their excellent economic growth and healthcare repercussions during the global pandemic. He also mentioned that the emirate was quick in renewing their momentum of growth in various sectors and has reestablished global leadership.

“This growth has been made possible by robust governance and the stimulus packages the Dubai Government launched under the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. The stimulus packages included a number of initiatives to support the foreign trade sector and enable it to continue playing its important role in national economic growth. The strong trade performance signals a positive start to the ‘Year of the 50th’ and the efforts to achieve the goals of the UAE Centennial Plan 2071”, he added.

Sheikh Hamdan was positive that the previous year’s growth will have an impact on Dubai’s five-year plan to expand their external trade to AED 2 trillion confirming the emirate’s position as a leading regional and global trade and investment hub.

“Dubai’s new international trade map will see an expansion in air and sea navigation routes, with 200 new cities set to be added to the emirate’s existing network of 400 cities,” he said.

The direct trade in Dubai reached AED 711 billion while the trade through free zones hit AED 464 billion and the customs warehouse trade summed up to AED 7 billion. Airborne trade hit AED 559 billion, sea trade AED 421 billion and land trade reached AED 203 billion.

China being the largest trading partner of Dubai, maintained their position with AED 142 billion during the year 2020. India had hit AED 89 billion and the trade with US came up till AED 61 billion. Saudi Arabia, Dubai’s largest Gulf and Arab trade partner was accounted for AED 54 billion and Iraq for AED 41 billion.

DP World Group Chairman and CEO and Chairman of Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation, Sultan bin Sulayem, said Dubai’s external trade sector has overcome the effects of the global pandemic in a remarkable way.

“With the gradual opening of borders, Dubai’s trade volumes started recovering and growing quickly in the second half of 2020. In the third quarter, Dubai’s trade surged 34 percent compared to second quarter. Trade grew by seven per cent to Dh326 billion in fourth quarter compared to the third quarter of 2020”, said Sulayem.

He mentioned that Dubai has shown a growth rate of 6% in 2020 despite the pandemic when compared to the previous year. The overall trade goods have been recorded to be 100 million tons, which shows the rapid recovery of the sector.

Sulayem added, “The resumption of trade with Qatar, the start of trade engagement with Israel, the positive spin-offs from hosting EXPO 2020 and the launch of the Dubai 2040 Urban Master Plan will all contribute to accelerating the emirate’s growth momentum.” He even said that the Dubai Chamber has to be restructured to maintain their leading position in the global trade. “The new chambers will enhance support for the trade sector by creating new solutions for the needs of investors and companies as part of a strategy to grow the emirate’s global trade in line with the vision of Dubai’s leadership for the next 50 years.”

As per the official data, the most traded commodity was gold during 2020, which accounted for AED 213 billion, followed by telecoms for AED 153 billion, diamonds by AED 64 billion, petroleum oils for AED 57 billion, and other jewelry for AED 47 billion.

Dubai’s Non-oil Foreign Trade has shown signs of growth even as the pandemic of COVID-19 disrupted the global economy. The emirate has reached halfway through their goal despite the situation. With a tremendous effort from the government and the people, the emirate was able to attain such great numbers in the past year. The government had announced numerous stimulus packages to stabilize the economy and to support the businesses. The emirate is most likely to reach their target of AED 2 trillion in the coming years considering their efforts.