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Dubai’s trade grows 72% over 10 years

City reinforces its status as the gateway to the region and global trade hub


Despite the challenges faced by global trade in the last decade, the value of Dubai’s foreign trade grew 72 percent from 2009 to 2018, reinforcing the city’s status as the hub of world trade.

The volume of goods in this period increased 44 percent, reflecting Dubai’s ability to attract global trade and investments and to manage change even in challenging periods when trade tensions between major economic powers and a global growth slowdown have led to currency rate volatility in developing countries.

Dubai’s external non-oil trade in 2018 reached USD 354 billion, according to data from Dubai Customs. Trade through free zones in 2018 grew by 23 percent to USD 145 billion. Direct trade touched USD 206 billion while customs warehouse trade weighed in at USD 2.8 billion. Re-exports grew 12 percent to USD 109.5 billion. Imports totaled USD 209.6 billion and exports USD 34.6 billion.

“The current growth of Dubai’s non-oil foreign trade is an indication that we are on the right path of revenue diversification in alignment with the values and standards outlined in the 50-Year Charter. The Dubai Silk Road Strategy supports decades of successful investment in developing the emirate’s infrastructure,” said H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council.

“We are committed to developing our government services so that we can become a world-class model for future governments based on knowledge, innovation, and advanced AI applications. We are currently developing a virtual commercial zone, the first of its kind in the region, which will allow investors to open bank accounts and grant e-residencies according to the highest standards of international laws and regulations,” His Highness said.

The latest external trade figures show coherence, integration, and diversity among the different modes of shipping: land, sea, and air. Airborne trade rose 3.2 percent to reach USD 166.6 billion; sea trade rose 3.4 percent to USD 131.5 billion; and land trade touched USD 56 billion.

China maintained its position as Dubai’s biggest trading partner in 2018 with USD 38 billion worth of trade. India came in second with USD 31.6 billion worth of trade, followed by the USA with USD 22 billion. Saudi Arabia continued to be Dubai’s largest Arab trade partner and its fourth largest global trade partner with USD 15 billion, followed by Switzerland in fifth place with USD 13.4 billion.


Dubai Customs