UAE trade set to surge after strong growth last year, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid says

The country accounted for 2.4 per cent of the world's exports of goods in 2022, according to the World Trade Organisation

DUBAI , UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – Oct 06 : Cargo containers at the Terminal 1 in Jebel Ali port in Dubai. ( Pawan Singh / The National ) For Business. Story by Frank Kane
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The UAE's trade is set to surge further this year following strong growth in 2022, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, said on Thursday.

The UAE accounted for 2.4 per cent of the world's exports of goods last year, according to the World Trade Organisation's Global Trade Outlook and Statistics report released this week.

The value of its exports reached $599 billion last year, marking annual growth of 41 per cent.

The UAE was ranked 11th in the world among the top commodity-exporting countries, the report found.

"What comes next in 2023 is better, bigger and greater," Sheikh Mohammed said on Twitter, highlighting the WTO data.

"We are an economic country ... and our national priorities are economic ... and our relations with countries will remain based on developing the economy," he said.

The UAE, the Arab world’s second-largest economy, is estimated to have grown by 7.6 per cent last year, the highest growth rate in 11 years, after expanding 3.9 per cent in 2021, according to the UAE Central Bank.

The banking regulator expects the country's economy to grow by 4.3 per cent next year and has maintained its growth forecast of 3.9 per cent growth for the current year.

The UAE’s non-oil foreign trade rose 17 per cent annually to hit a record Dh2.23 trillion ($607.1 billion) last year as the Emirates put in place measures to diversify its economy and boost its economic partnerships.

The country is working towards signing 26 Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreements, Abdulla bin Touq, Minister of Economy, said last month.

It aims to eliminate unnecessary trade barriers, increase market access and set up investment and trade ventures with its partners.

The country has already signed Cepa deals with India, Israel, Indonesia and Turkey, and is close to finalising agreements with Cambodia and Kenya.

Last month, it started talks with Costa Rica and also recently concluded negotiations for a new trade deal with Georgia.

It also announced the start of Cepa negotiations with Vietnam on Thursday.

According to the WTO, the UAE’s transactions of goods and services amounted to $1.27 trillion in 2022, with a surplus of $233 billion.

Globally, the volume of world merchandise trade is expected to grow by 1.7 per cent this year, following 2.7 per cent growth in 2022, the organisation said.

“Trade continues to be a force for resilience in the global economy, but it will remain under pressure from external factors in 2023," said WTO director general Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

"This makes it even more important for governments to avoid trade fragmentation and refrain from introducing obstacles to trade. Investing in multilateral cooperation on trade ... would bolster economic growth and people's living standards over the long term.”

Updated: April 06, 2023, 5:21 PM