Dubai's non-oil foreign trade hits $540bn a year before schedule

Emirate's economic growth is being propelled by various government initiatives

Dubai's economy expanded by an annual 3.3 per cent in the first nine months of last year. Antonie Robertson / The National
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Dubai’s non-oil foreign trade has reached Dh2 trillion ($540 billion), a year ahead of schedule, driven by continuing economic growth in the emirate.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, announced the milestone on Tuesday, on X, previously known as Twitter.

In January 2020, the Dubai government announced the target to raise the volume of non-oil foreign trade to Dh2 trillion by 2025. To achieve this, the government built a team to set up a new logistical and legislative framework to open new markets.

“In 2020, before the Covid crisis, we announced from the Dubai Council a target for Dubai’s non-oil foreign trade to reach Dh2 trillion by 2025. Then the Covid crisis came, and the team informed me of the impossibility of achieving the goal as a result of this crisis that struck the global trade movement,” Sheikh Mohammed said on X.

“Life experiences taught me that crises are the best time to develop and think outside the ordinary,” Sheikh Mohammed added.

"We launched many initiatives, developed policies, changed and facilitated procedures during the largest global crisis that lasted for nearly two years. Today, a year before the deadline, we have reached our goal."

Dubai's economy, which is fuelled by various government initiatives, expanded by an annual 3.3 per cent in the first nine months of last year, driven by growth in the tourism and transportation sectors, the latest government data showed last month.

The emirate’s gross domestic product expanded by 3.2 per cent annually in the first half of last year to Dh223.8 billion, according to official data released in October.

It was driven by growth in sectors such as transport, trade, financial services, accommodation and food services, property, information and communication and manufacturing.

Last month, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai, announced a Dh500 million initiative to help small and medium enterprises based in the emirate to expand into regional and global markets.

In December, Dubai's non-oil private sector grew strongly, with activity reaching its highest level in 16 months as new orders rose and cost pressures eased.

The seasonally adjusted S&P Global Dubai purchasing managers' index reading hit 57.7 in December, up from 56.8 in November and well above the neutral 50-point mark separating an expansion from a contraction.

The reading was the highest since August 2022 and the second highest in four and a half years.

In November, the emirate also approved its budget for 2024, with Dh79.1 billion earmarked for spending.

The move aimed to support Dubai's ambitions to stimulate the macroeconomy and achieve the objectives of its Strategic Plan 2030 development project, the emirate's media office said at the time.

Updated: February 06, 2024, 5:09 PM