Dafza registers 54% rise in exports during the first quarter of 2020

China accounted for the highest percentage of Dafza's trade at Dh7.7bn

The Dubai Airport Freezone Authority (Dafza) recorded a 54 per cent increase in general exports during the first quarter of 2020. Courtesy Dafza
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The Dubai Airport Freezone Authority (Dafza) recorded a 54 per cent increase in general exports during the first quarter of 2020, with China being its biggest trade partner, the operator of the free zone said.

China accounted for 21 per cent of Dafza's trade at Dh7.7 billion, followed by India with 16.6 per cent of trade at Dh6.1bn and Switzerland with 14 per cent at Dh5.1bn.

"These results highlight Dafza's strategic agility and ability to adapt to secure long-term returns on investment," Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman of Dafza, said. “The free zone's capability to control the impact of the current pandemic has led Dafza to sustain growth and flow of foreign direct investment during the recession and economic recovery stage.”

The free zone also witnessed a large trade surplus with goods from various industries amounting to Dh3.1bn during the period. Machinery and electrical equipment constituted the bulk of all imports at a value of Dh9.9bn. This was followed by the pearls, semi-precious stones and metals sector, which accounted for 34.5 per cent of total imports, at a value of Dh5.8bn.

Dafza also said it achieved growth in sales rates, with an increase of 9 per cent in comparison to the same period last year. It did not mention whether the growth is related to the first quarter or during the first half. The number of companies registered in the free zone also rose to 19 per cent and the total leased area grew 2.10 per cent.

Earlier this year, Dafza rolled out a set of economic incentive packages, to help mitigate the impact of coronavirus on businesses operating in the free zone.

The initiatives include the postponement of lease payments for up to three months and allowing other financial payments to be made in instalments. The free zone will also refund security deposits on leased spaces and labour guarantees to companies.

Other measures include exempting new companies from registration and licensing fees, as well as the cancellation of fines.

“During the first half of the year, Dafza achieved 92 per cent of its sales targets and has played a critical role in stimulating economic activity in the country,” Mohammed Al Zarooni, director general of Dafza said. “Situated with direct access to one of the world's busiest international airports, the free zone's strategic location has enabled it to attract companies to the office complexes at Dafza, which saw a 28 per cent increase in rental rates.”