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Dubai’s non-oil trade hits AED1.18t in 2020

Strong rebound from COVID-19’s global economic repercussions


Dubai’s non-oil foreign trade strongly rebounded from the challenges posed by the global economic repercussions of COVID-19 and the suspension of business activity by countries across the world in the first half of last year to record high growth in 2020.

Boosted by its resilience to global headwinds, as well as its rapid economic recovery and revitalized growth in the second half of the year, Dubai’s foreign trade in 2020 touched AED 1.182 trillion. Total trade volume reached 100 million tons, driven by a 6% year-on-year volume growth in the second half of the year. The overall value of exports grew 8% to AED 167 billion while imports accounted for AED 686 billion and re-exports totaled AED 329 billion.

The growth is attributed to robust governance and the stimulus packages the Dubai Government launched, which include a number of initiatives to support the foreign trade sector and enable it to continue playing its important role in national economic growth.

The 2020 performance is expected to boost the implementation of Dubai’s five-year plan to expand its external trade to AED 2 trillion, consolidating the city’s position as a leading regional and global trade and investment hub. Dubai’s new international trade map will see an expansion in air and sea navigation routes, with 200 new cities set to be added to the existing network of 400.

With the gradual opening of borders, Dubai’s trade volumes started recovering and growing quickly in the second half of 2020. In the third quarter, Dubai’s trade surged 34% compared to Q2, and in Q4, trade grew by 7% to AED 326 billion compared to Q3.

Trade volumes in the second half of 2020 expanded by 6% compared to the corresponding period in 2019. Overall, 100 million tons of goods were traded in 2020, which reflects the rapid recovery.

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


  • Direct trade -- AED 711 billion
  • Trade through free zones -- AED 464 billion
  • Customs warehouse trade -- AED 7 billion
  • Airborne trade -- AED 559 billion
  • Sea trade -- AED 421 billion
  • Land trade -- AED 203 billion


  • China -- AED 142 billion
  • India -- AED 89 billion
  • US -- AED 61 billion
  • Saudi Arabia -- AED 54 billion
  • Iraq -- AED 41 billion


  • Gold -- AED 213 billion
  • Telecoms -- AED 153 billion
  • Diamonds -- AED 64 billion
  • Petroleum oils -- AED 57 billion
  • Jewelry -- AED 47 billion