Reinforcing its reputation as the trading hub of the Middle East, Dubai has achieved an amazing 36 per cent growth in trade in 2005, with total trade through the city touching AED 480 billion compared to AED 351 billion in 2004, according to trade traffic statistics compiled by the Statistics Department of Dubai Ports, Customs and Free Zones (PCFC).
The compounded average growth rate between 2000 and 2005 is an astonishing 194 per cent. In 2005, direct trade grew 30 per cent to reach AED 280 billion, free zone trade increased 47 per cent to AED 178 billion, and customs warehouse trade grew 49 per cent to AED 21 billion.
Total imports increased from AED 229.8 billion in 2004 to AED 308.3 billion in 2005, while exports jumped from AED 64.5 billion to AED 92.4 billion during the same period. Re-exports increased from AED 57 billion in 2004 to AED 78.8 billion in 2005.
The significant growth in trade reflects the overall growth of Dubai and the UAE, and signals the UAE’s arrival as one of the major trading nations in the region. The figures indicate that Dubai has further enhanced its reputation as a major re-export hub, with re-exports recording a 38 per cent year-on-year growth. Also, the remarkable surge in exports point to increased activity in the manufacturing sector in the UAE, especially in the free zones.
Machinery, electrical and electronics equipment formed the bulk of total imports with a 23.7 per cent share, followed by semi-precious and precious stones and metals and imitation jewelry at 23.6 per cent. Vehicles, aircraft and transport equipment accounted for 11.4 per cent of imports, with other products combining to make up the remaining 41 per cent.
Base metals and products made from it comprised the majority of total exports with a 29 per cent share, followed by prepared foodstuffs and mineral products at 17.4 per cent and 6.5 per cent respectively. Other miscellaneous products together formed the remaining 46 per cent.
In re-exports, semi-precious and precious stones, metals and imitation jewellery commanded a 33.9 per cent share. Machinery, electrical and electronics equipment had a 26.5 per cent in total re-exports while vehicles, aircraft and transport equipment had a 9.4 per cent share.
India replaced China as Dubai’s leading trading partner in 2005. Total imports from India last year were worth AED 24 billion, with China coming next at AED 22 billion, followed by the USA, UK and Japan. India also constituted Dubai’s largest export market with total exports of AED 881 million, ahead of Pakistan which accounted for exports worth AED 833 million. Kuwait, USA and Iran rounded out the list of Dubai’s top five export markets.
India also maintained its position atop the list of top re-export destinations. Total value of re-exports to India in 2005 was pegged at AED 18 billion, while re-exports to Iran amounted to AED 11.8 billion. Iraq, Switzerland and the Netherlands followed next with AED 5.4 billion, AED 3.6 billion and AED 2.9 billion respectively.