Dubai's non-oil external trade reached Dh1.182 trillion in 2020

China remained Dubai’s largest trading partner while gold topped the list of commodities in Dubai's 2020 external trade

Cargo containers at Terminal 1 in Jebel Ali Port in Dubai. DP World announced leadership changes at its UAE division. Pawan Singh / The National.
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Dubai, a regional business and tourism hub, said its non-oil foreign trade "strongly rebounded" from the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic that disrupted business activity globally.

Dubai’s foreign trade reached Dh1.182 trillion last year, boosted by its economic recovery in the second half of the year, the Government of Dubai Media Office said in a statement on Saturday. Prior-year figures were not provided.

"The exceptional growth performance of Dubai’s external trade sector reflects the emirate’s impressive resilience and its ability to recover and grow amidst international crises," Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Crown Prince and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai said. "This growth has been made possible by robust governance and the stimulus packages the Dubai government."

The emirate has introduced various support measures to help the economy emerge stronger following the coronavirus outbreak. The trade and investment hub of the Middle East has also provided stimulus packages worth Dh6.8 billion ($1.85bn) to cushion the impact of the pandemic.

Dubai has a five-year plan to grow its external trade to Dh2tr and to expand its air and sea navigation routes. The emirate plans to add 200 new cities to its existing network of 400 cities.

The rebound in Dubai's non-oil foreign trade is spurring greater growth in 2021, Sultan bin Sulayem, DP World Group chairman and chief executive and the chairman of Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation said.

"The resumption of trade with Qatar, the start of trade engagement with Israel, the positive spin-offs from hosting Expo 2020 and the launch of the Dubai 2040 Urban Master Plan will all contribute to accelerating the emirate’s growth momentum," he said.

China remained Dubai’s largest trading partner in 2020 with Dh142bn worth of trade, followed by India with Dh89bn, and the US with Dh61bn.

Saudi Arabia continued to be Dubai’s largest Gulf and Arab trade partner and its fourth largest global trade partner with Dh54bn worth of trade, followed by Iraq in the fifth place with Dh41bn.

Gold topped the list of commodities in Dubai's 2020 external trade at Dh213bn, followed by telecoms, diamonds, petroleum oils and jewellery.

Dubai's total trade volume in 2020 reached 100 million tonnes, driven by a 6 per cent year-on-year volume growth in the second half of the year. Overall value of exports in 2020 grew 8 per cent to Dh167bn while imports accounted for Dh686bn and re-exports totalled Dh329bn.

Dubai’s direct trade in 2020 totalled Dh711bn, while trade through free zones reached Dh464bn and customs warehouse trade came in at Dh7bn. Airborne trade accounted for Dh559bn at the air transport hub. Sea trade reached Dh421bn while land trade touched Dh203bn.

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