Dubai’s external trade to grow further as economy recovers from the pandemic

The emirate's new international trade plan includes the establishment of network lines to 200 new cities

Dubai Customs organizes 2nd DCCC meeting with business groups amid high hopes of trade recovery and prosperity. Photo: Dubai Customs
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Dubai’s external trade is expected to grow steadily as the economy continues to recover from the coronavirus pandemic on the back of an accelerated vaccine campaign and stimulus measures, according to DP World group chairman and chief executive.

“Thanks to a number of development plans and the stimulus packages which Dubai Government launched ... our external trade sector showed impressive resilience and ability to recover and grow in the face of international crises," Sultan bin Sulayem said while speaking during the online Dubai Customs Consultative Council meeting.

Dubai's non-oil external trade grew by 10 per cent in the first quarter to Dh354.4 billion ($96.5bn). Exports grew by 25 per cent to Dh50.5bn, while imports rose by 9 per cent to Dh204.8bn. The value of re-exports was up 5.5 per cent to Dh99bn, Dubai Media Office said last week.

The UAE is boosting its vaccination programme and the “success of its strategy in delivering vaccines to more than 70 per cent of the targeted segments is one of the … factors that stand behind the outstanding performance of Dubai external trade and tourism,” Mr Bin Sulayem, who is also the chairman of Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation and chairman of Dubai International Chamber of Commerce, said.

The emirate's resilience in the face of the pandemic is also encouraging many companies to set up their headquarters in Dubai "to benefit from our advanced technological infrastructure and good governance".

Dubai's new international trade plan includes the establishment of network lines to 200 new cities to further cement the emirate's role in the global trade, he added.

DP World, one of the world's biggest ports operators, said last month it is developing the road linking Ethiopia to Berbera in Somaliland into a trade and logistics corridor, following the signing of an agreement with the country.

“We plan to invest up to $1bn over the next 10 years to develop supply chain infrastructure along the corridor. This will include dry ports, silos, warehouses, container yards, cool and cold chain depots, freight forwarding and clearing activities,” Mr Bin Sulayem, said.

DP World has a strong presence in 80 ports and terminals worldwide and is looking to increase its investments in the ports and logistics sectors in Africa and Asia –  a move that is expected to feed into strengthening Dubai's trade network.

Dubai's economy is expected to expand by 4 per cent this year, according to government projections released in December.

The emirate unveiled stimulus packages worth Dh7.1bn since the outbreak of Covid-19 to support the economy, businesses and people.

The government’s proactive policies and plans in dealing with the crisis, along with the stimulus packages, have played a positive role in containing the crisis and its repercussions on different sectors, Ahmed Musabih, director general of Dubai Customs, said during the event.

“In Dubai Customs, we aim to expand trade activity and open new lines targeting Dh2 trillion volume.”