Dubai's economy remains resilient to global economic headwinds caused by the negative impact of the Covid-19 outbreak with its external trade in the first quarter of 2020 reaching Dh 323 billion (88 billion), said Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council, citing official data.
Exports grew 2 percent to Dh 43 billion compared to the corresponding quarter last year, while the imports accounted for Dh 189 billion and re-exports hit Dh 92 billion.
The volume of Dubai’s external non-oil trade reached 24 million tons - imports accounted for 16 million tons, exports 4.2 million tons, and re-exports 3.6 million tons, he stated.
On the steady growth, Sheikh Hamdan said: "Dubai has demonstrated its economic resilience amidst the global Covid-19 crisis. Though the pandemic has impacted markets around the world, Dubai’s external trade has been able to maintain its momentum thanks to the diversity of its markets and its ability to adapt to global changes, trends and needs."
"We are reaping the benefits of what our leadership has sown. From an early stage, our leadership invested in developing infrastructure and advanced technology that have enabled us to be resilient amidst crises and turn challenges into opportunities," he stated.
"To support businesses during this difficult time, we announced a stimulus package plan which included a refund of 20 percent of the customs fees imposed on imported products sold locally in Dubai markets from March 15 to June 30," he stated.
"The package also includes the cancellation of the Dh 50,000 bank guarantee or cash required to undertake customs clearance activity. Bank guarantee or cash paid by existing customs clearance companies will be refunded," he added.
Direct trade in Q1 2020 reached Dh 188 billion while trade out of free zones reached Dh 133 billion, and customs warehouse trade accounted for Dh 2 billion. Land trade contributed Dh 4 billion, sea trade Dh116 billion, and air trade Dh 163 billion.
Against all odds and despite the many challenges and hurdles facing the world market due to the outbreak of Covid-19, customs transactions in Dubai skyrocketed 60 percent to reach 4 million in Q1 2020, from 2.5 million in the corresponding quarter last year. This reflects the resilience of the Dubai economy and its ability to cope with changes and challenges.
"We look to the future with optimism and we are confident we will overcome this current challenge, and at the same time use the opportunities that this challenge creates in the best possible way to realise our strategic plans to consolidate Dubai’s position as a leading global example of excellence and success," remarked Sheikh Hamdan.
DP World Group Chairman & CEO and Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation Chairman Sultan bin Sulayem said the directives of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, have strengthened Dubai’s resilience despite the challenges caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
"Dubai’s strong customs structure helped achieve a 60 percent increase in customs transactions despite the challenging global environment, growing from 2.5 million transactions in Q1 2019 to 4 million transactions this year," remarked Bin Sulayem.
China remained Dubai’s largest trading partner, contributing Dh35.8 billion, followed by India contributing Dh30.4 billion, and the US with Dh19.5 billion.
The highest traded commodity by value in 2019 was precious metals and stones. Gold, jewelry and diamonds trade grew 2 percent to Dh92 billion, followed by phones with Dh38 billion, and petroleum oils which contributed Dh 16 billion.
"This makes Dubai one of the best customs and logistics hubs in the world, and a very attractive environment for foreign investments and businesses. Thanks to a number of government strategies and stimulus plans, Dubai remains credible and trustful in the eyes of investors and businesses worldwide, he added.
According to him, Dubai Customs has implemented the government stimulus package plan to help businesses maintain their operations during this difficult time.
"At the same time, it continues its efforts to further develop customs operations. The World Customs Organisation recently endorsed the Dubai Customs initiative of establishing a global platform for the best customs practices and AEO mutual recognition agreements. With this, Dubai Customs will lead efforts to facilitate data transfer between the World Customs Organisation and member customs organisations," he stated.
"Dubai Customs has been working diligently to combat the challenges arising from the pandemic. Its inspection officers are equipped with protective gear to ensure their safety. They are also working meticulously to facilitate the uninterrupted flow of goods," he added.