UAE to be key driver of global trade with exports growing 6% annually to $299bn by 2030

India and mainland China expected to be main export corridors for Emirates over next decade, Standard Chartered says

Cargo containers at Jebel Ali Port in Dubai. The UAE is expected to be a major driver of global trade growth over the next decade, Standard Chartered says.  Pawan Singh / The National
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The UAE will be a key driver of global trade growth, with its exports projected to expand at an average annual rate of more than 6 per cent to Dh1.1 trillion ($299 billion) by 2030 as the country focuses on diversifying its economy away from oil.

Metals and minerals, gold, machinery and electricals will dominate the country’s exports over the next decade with India and mainland China being the principal export markets, Standard Chartered said in a report on Monday.

“As part of its ambitious diversification plans from hydrocarbons, the UAE is successfully working towards cementing its position as the key trade gateway,” Syed Zaeem, managing director and head of trade and transaction banking, Africa & Middle East, at Standard Chartered said.

“India and mainland China will continue to be among the largest export corridors for the UAE, accounting for 18 per cent and 9.5 per cent of total exports in 2030, respectively.”

The UAE, the Arab world’s second largest economy, rolled out a series of initiatives to support its economy last year and boost it future competitiveness globally. This includes a Dh388bn stimulus programme to offset the effect of the coronavirus pandemic on its economy, as well as a new industrial strategy to increase the contribution of the industrial sector from Dh133bn to Dh300bn in the next 10 years.

The country also overhauled its commercial companies' law to attract more foreign capital and aims to strengthen its economic partnerships with South Korea, Indonesia, Kenya, Ethiopia, India, Israel and Turkey.


The non-oil trade between the UAE and Israel reached $700 million one year after the two countries normalised relations in 2020, said Abdullah bin Touq, Minister of Economy. The UAE is also boosting trade relations with Turkey and other countries across the world.

Global exports will almost double to $29.7tn from $17.4tn over the next decade with 13 markets including the UAE, Indonesia, Nigeria, mainland China, India, South Korea and Kenya driving the growth, Standard Chartered said.

“Globalisation will drive the next decade of growth," the lender said in its report, which is based on an analysis of historical trade data and projections until 2030, as well as insights from a number of senior executives at different global companies.

"Despite the recent push towards onshoring, growth corridors of the future will not just be intraregional – they will be global spanning Africa-East Asia, Asean-South Asia, East Asia-Europe, East Asia-Middle East, East Asia-Europe and South Asia-US," the lender said.

Increased investment will flow through Asia, Africa and the Middle East, with 82 per cent of respondents considering new production locations in these regions in the next five to 10 years.

The report found a significant trend towards the adoption of sustainable trade practices in response to climate concerns and a rising wave of conscious consumerism. However, while almost 90 per cent of corporate leaders acknowledged the need to implement these practices across their supply chains, only 34 per cent ranked it as a top-three priority for execution over the next five to 10 years.

Updated: January 31, 2022, 1:37 PM