Dubai trade growth shows mixed fortunes

Imports and Exports | 12 March 2019

Trade appears to be going well in Dubai, but has stalled compared to the glory days prior to 2012.


New trade figures coming from Dubai have demonstrated mixed fortunes for the Emirate, with transactions growing but non-oil trade stalling.

According to Dubai Customs, trade through free zones grew by 23 per cent in 2018, while the number of transactions rose to 9.6 million, up from nine million in 2017.

Airborne trade went up by 3.2 per cent and sea trade increased 3.4 per cent.

China remained Dubai's biggest trading partner during last year as a whole, followed by India and the USA.

However, Forbes pointed out that Dubai's non-oil trade was down very slightly on the year before - and this marked the sixth consecutive year of slow or no growth.

Indeed, the city state's international trade is now worth slightly less than it was in 2013 and 2014, a far cry from the double-digit  growth often seen in the years up to 2012.

Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council said: "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."

Authorities in Dubai have ploughed investment into facilities for importers and exporters. Dubai is now home to numerous free trade zones, a busy international airport and an enormous container port.

However, it has been suggested that a 2017 economic boycott on Qatar has hit trade in the Emirate. Some trade was allowed to resume last month after United Arab Emirates authorities appeared to soften the policy.