Dubai Airport Free Zone recorded 36% surge in non-oil trade in 2021

Free zone has fully recovered from the Covid-19 pandemic, Sheikh Ahmed says

Dubai Airport Free Zone's total non-oil trade reached Dh162 billion in 2021. Photo: Dafza
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Dubai Airport Free Zone (Dafz) recorded more than 36 per cent growth in non-oil trade in 2021 as imports and exports grew amid the emirate’s economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

The free zone’s total non-oil trade last year reached Dh162 billion ($44.11bn) compared with Dh119bn in 2020, Dubai Media Office said on Sunday.

“The free zone has fully recovered from the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic, with trade returning to pre-2020 levels,” said Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed, chairman of Dubai Integrated Economic Zones Authority (Diez).

“This has reinforced its mission to enhance its strategic goals and contribute to strengthening Dubai’s position as a global trade hub.”

The latest data comes as Dubai and the UAE continue to recover economically from the pandemic-induced slowdown on the back of government initiatives and higher oil prices.

Dubai's economy grew 6.2 per cent in 2021, according to preliminary data from the Dubai Statistics Centre. In the first three months of this year, the emirate's gross domestic product expanded 5.9 per cent, according to government data.

The UAE’s economy, which expanded 3.8 per cent in 2021, is expected to grow 5.4 per cent and 4.2 per cent in 2022 and 2023, respectively, the latest projections by the Central Bank of the UAE have shown.

Emirates NBD recently raised its UAE growth forecast to 7 per cent in 2022 on oil output and robust growth of its non-oil sector.

“These unprecedented results align with the national economic performance, which recorded qualitative leaps recently following the strong growth of Dubai’s non-oil trade,” Sheikh Ahmed said.

Dafz contributed 10.7 per cent to Dubai’s non-oil trade in 2021. It recorded a trade surplus of Dh9.3bn, with exports rising four times compared with the previous year, and imports by 48 per cent, the latest data showed.

Machinery, equipment and appliances were the main contributors to the total trade in 2021, making up 74.6 per cent of exports with a value of Dh63.9bn, and 77.1 per cent of imports valued at Dh58.9bn, the media office said.

Precious stones, metals and jewellery, meanwhile, made up 19.3 per cent of exports with a value of Dh16.5bn, and 16.7 per cent of imports valued at Dh12.7bn.

Asia accounted for 43 per cent of the free zone’s total trade with a value of Dh69.5bn, followed by the Middle East and North Africa with 37 per cent and a value of Dh60.7bn, and Europe at 13 per cent.

“During the pandemic, Dubai focused on developing accurate plans and continued to strengthen its partnerships and operations, a step that facilitated these exceptional results,” said Mohammed Al Zarooni, executive chairman of Diez.

Updated: October 09, 2022, 3:17 PM