Abu Dhabi's non-oil trade jumps 15% in first quarter

Emirate’s exports stood at more than $6.6bn in the three-month period, marking an annual increase of 35%

Abu Dhabi was quick to respond to the economic challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. AP
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Abu Dhabi's non-oil foreign trade jumped an annual 15 per cent to more than Dh61.5 billion ($16.7bn) in the first quarter of 2022, driven by the government’s robust economic policies and the emirate’s recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Exports stood at more than Dh24.4bn, an annual increase of 35 per cent, while imports rose 5 per cent year-on-year to almost Dh25.4bn, state news agency Wam reported on Wednesday. Re-exports surged 4 per cent on an annualised basis to nearly Dh11.7bn.

The “proactive services” launched by the emirate's administration contributed to the growth in non-oil trade in the first quarter of 2022, Wam quoted Rashed Al Mansoori, director general of the General Administration of Customs in Abu Dhabi, as saying.

Digital transformation and new technologies such as artificial intelligence have enhanced the efficiency of the customs sector, which will further boost Abu Dhabi’s stature as a global capital of trade, he added.

Abu Dhabi's non-oil economy grew an annual 4.1 per cent last year, driven by several stimulus initiatives for business and household sectors, figures compiled by Statistics Centre — Abu Dhabi (SCAD) showed.

The emirate launched an economic stimulus package in March 2020 that included 16 diverse initiatives under Ghadan 21 — the government’s economic accelerator programme.

Saudi Arabia, the Arab world’s biggest economy, was the biggest trading partner of the emirate in the January-March period, accounting for nearly 23 per cent of total trade, valued more than Dh13.9bn. It was followed by Switzerland (8 per cent), the US (7 per cent), China and India (both 5 per cent).

The value of commodities trade from ordinary metals and their products reached Dh12.8bn, up 27 per cent on an annual basis. Meanwhile, the trade in pearls, precious stones, precious metals and their products, increased almost 78 per cent yearly.

The trade of wood and its products, cork, mats and baskets grew 47 per cent, while the trade of leather goods, animal kits and travel supplies recorded a growth of 43 per cent, Wam reported.

In March, Thani Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, said the country's non-oil trade totalled Dh16.1 trillion over the past 10 years as the Arab world’s second-largest economy accelerated its efforts to reduce its reliance on hydrocarbons.

For the 2012-2021 period, the UAE’s total non-oil exports rose 12 per cent on an annual basis to Dh2.1tn, while imports rose 2.5 per cent yearly to Dh9.5tn. Re-exports reached almost Dh4.5tn at an annual growth rate of 4.9 per cent.

Updated: May 11, 2022, 4:23 PM