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KHALEEJ TIMES, Wednesday, Nov 7, 2018 | Safar 29,1440

Dubai's non-oil trade stays robust

Emirates: Dubai's non-oil trade remained steady during the first 9 months of 2018 despite political and trade war headwinds and tighter credit market conditions.

According to Dubai Customs data released on Tuesday, the emirate's external non-oil trade in the first nine months of 2018 reached Dh965.3 billion as compared to Dh985 billion for the same period last year, a slight decline of nearly 2 per cent.

Re-exports registered 13 per cent growth to touch Dh299.2 billion, while imports remained at Dh592.2 billion. Exports totalled around Dh97.7 billion during the January to September period.

On September 27, the World Trade Organisation downgraded the outlook for global trade. It now anticipates growth in merchandise trade volume of 3.9 per cent in 2018 as compared to its previous estimate of 4.4 per cent.

According to Dubai Customs, trade through free zones grew 22 per cent to reach Dh394.3 billion in the first nine months of 2018. Direct trade touched Dh562.8 billion while customs warehouse trade weighed in at Dh8.3 billion.

Dubai's seaborne trade grew 4.1 per cent to Dh362 billion and airborne trade grew 2.3 per cent to Dh449.4 billion. However, trade conducted through land transportation declined 13.6 per cent at Dh153.8 billion.

"We are closely watching the changes taking place in international trade and we will turn challenges into opportunities by entering new markets and expanding our existing ones," said Ahmed Mahboob Musabih, director, Dubai Customs.

"Hosting Expo 2020 encourages us to further enhance the trade and customs services and facilities provided by Dubai Customs to investors and traders. Work on e-commerce is progressing and is expected to further facilitate trade and support the economy," said Sultan Ahmad bin Sulayem, group chairman and CEO of DP World, and Chairman of the Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation.

Atik Munshi, senior partner, Crowe, said Dubai has been traditionally a trans-shipment and re-export hub and this year is no different.

"The external trade during the 3 quarters have reached nearly Dh1 trillion and it is likely that the year 2018 will surpass the figures of the previous year," Munshi told Khaleej Times.

"The government of Dubai and the UAE are making their efforts in investing in infrastructure, providing benefits to investors and making business easy for UAE-based entities. Though electronics [mobile phones] is the main area of this external trade, it will be beneficial in the long run if local manufacturing takes a lead. The business sentiment is gradually becoming more positive and hence the last quarter of 2018 is expected to be even better," he said.

China maintained its position as Dubai's biggest trading partner in the first nine months of 2018 with Dh102.9 billion worth of trade. Trade with India registered 16 per cent growth to reach 86.2 billion, followed by the US in third place with Dh59.6 billion. Saudi Arabia remains Dubai's largest Arab trade partner and its fourth largest global trade partner with Dh38.6 billion.

Phones of all types topped the list of commodities in Dubai's foreign trade in the first nine months of 2018 with Dh111 billion worth of trade. Next on the list was gold with Dh110 billion worth of trade, followed by jewellery (Dh78 billion), diamonds (Dh69 billion) and cars with Dh49 billion.

"While the world is reeling, Dubai is rising. And the emirate will continue to rise because of the Dubai government's business-friendly policies with its trading partners, especially with the world's most leading economies such as China, India, US and Saudi, four major pillars and contributors in Dubai's trade," Jitendra Gianchandani, chairman and managing partner of Jitendra Consulting Group, said. 

"Dubai's passion for excellence in everything, be its infrastructure or IT or business or serving people, has put them ahead and first choice when it comes to live, business and pleasure," he added.

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