An aerial view of the city of Dubai. File
Dubai’s economy remains resilient to global economic headwinds caused by the negative impact of the COVID-19 outbreak.
The city’s external trade in the first quarter of 2020 reached Dhs323 billion. Exports grew 2 percent to Dhs43 billion compared to the corresponding quarter last year. Imports accounted for Dhs189 billion while re-exports touched Dhs92 billion.
The volume of Dubai’s external non-oil trade reached 24 million tonnes - imports accounted for 16 million tons, exports 4.2 million tons, and re-exports 3.6 million tonnes.
Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council, 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.”
Sheikh Hamdan added, “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 15 March to 30 June. The package also includes the cancellation of the Dhs50,000 bank guarantee or cash required to undertake customs clearance activity. Bank guarantee or cash paid by existing customs clearance companies will be refunded.
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.”
Direct trade in Q1 2020 reached Dhs188 billion while trade out of free zones reached Dhs133 billion, and customs warehouse trade accounted for Dhs2 billion. Land trade contributed Dhs4 billion, sea trade Dhs116 billion, and air trade Dhs163 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.
Sultan bin Sulayem, DP World Group Chairman & CEO and Chairman of Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation said the directives of His Highness 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. 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.
“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.
“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.”
China remained Dubai’s largest trading partner, contributing Dhs35.8 billion, followed by India contributing Dhs30.4 billion, and the USA with Dhs19.5 billion.
The highest traded commodity by value in 2019 was precious metals and stones. Gold, jewelry and diamonds trade grew 2 percent to Dhs92 billion, followed by phones with Dhs38 billion, and petroleum oils which contributed Dhs16 billion.
Meanwhile, Dubai Airport Freezone Authority (DAFZA) has launched a set of initiatives for its employees during the remote working period aimed at ensuring the continuity of business operations and enabling co-workers to effectively communicate, collaborate and share their achievements during this period.
As part of the ongoing initiatives, the People Management Department at the free zone has launched a ‘Virtual DAFZA Staff Forum’. The weekly forum provides a space for employees to discuss their experiences and recommendations and paves the way for attendees to share achievements, ideas and moments. The forum comes as part of DAFZA efforts to instill a sense of community amongst the staff, whilst preserving normality and positivity in everyday life.
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