The UAE's non-oil foreign trade grew 2.5 per cent to Dh1.2 trillion in the first nine months of 2018 as compared to Dh1.17 trillion during the same period in 2017. This was driven by increased trading activity from companies based in free zones, according to Federal Customs Authority (FCA) data released on Sunday.
Non-oil foreign trade from free zones accounted for 37 per cent valued at Dh439.2 billion while trade from customs warehouses was equivalent to two per cent or Dh8.4 billion of the total. Total non-oil foreign trade through the mainland reached Dh726.4 billion, accounting for 62 per cent of the total trade.
The share of non-oil foreign trade from free zones increased by five per cent year on year to 37 per cent during the first nine months of 2018.
Ali Saeed Al Neyadi, customs commissioner and head of FCA, said non-oil foreign trade continues to grow and stabilise despite the slowdown witnessed by many international markets in light of the decline in oil prices and limited growth rates in the major economies.
The value of imports amounted to Dh697.2 billion, with native and semi-processed gold imports topping at Dh83.4 billion, which is equivalent to 12 per cent of the total value of the UAE's imports during the said period.
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Telephone equipment ranked second with Dh54.1 billion, representing eight per cent of total imports, followed by car imports worth Dh42.3 billion, accounting for six per cent; and gold ornaments and jewellery imports worth Dh38 billion. This was followed by petroleum oils at Dh36.4 billion, representing 5.2 per cent of the country's total imports.
Value of the UAE's exports reached Dh134.7 billion, with gold exports at the forefront with a value of Dh30.2 billion, representing 22 per cent of the total, followed by raw aluminum worth Dh13 billion (10 per cent), cigarettes worth Dh8.6 billion (6.4 per cent), gold ornaments and jewellery worth Dh8 billion (6 per cent) and ethylene polymers with all its forms (6.2 per cent) accounting for 5 per cent of the total exports value.
The total value of re-exports amounted to Dh342.2 billion compared to Dh325.2 billion in the previous year period, achieving a growth of five per cent.
Telephone equipment re-exports were the highest from the UAE in the first nine months of 2018 at Dh63.6 billion (19 per cent), followed by non-compounded diamonds valued at Dh37.5 billion with a contribution of 11 per cent, gold ornaments and jewelry worth Dh34 billion (10 per cent), cars worth Dh27.3 billion (8 per cent) and air vehicle parts worth Dh12.7 billion (4 per cent) of total re-exports during that period.
Top trading partners
The preliminary statistics of the Authority indicated that the Asia-Pacific region was at the forefront of trading partners during the period, accounting for 42 per cent of total non-oil trade with a share of Dh460.6 billion, while the region of Europe was second with a share of Dh250.2 billion (23 per cent) of the total, Mena with Dh207 billion (19 per cent), America and the Caribbean region with Dh102 billion (9.2 per cent) of the total, the region of East and South Africa worth Dh46.4 billion (4.2 per cent) and West and Central Africa representing 3.6 per cent.
Al Neyadi said the UAE has maintained stable trade relations with all regions and strategic trading partners over the past years as economic growth continues in all sectors.
He pointed out that the share of GCC countries accounted for 11 per cent of total non-oil trade in the UAE worth Dh131.2 billion, of which Dh40.6 billion were imports, Dh31.3 billion exports and Dh59.3 billion re-exports.
He added that Saudi Arabia is the UAE's largest trading partner among GCC countries and the Arab countries, noting that total trade with the Kingdom amounted to Dh58.3 billion, accounting for nearly half of the country's trade with the Gulf states (44 per cent), followed by Oman with an estimated value of Dh32.5 billion (25 per cent), Kuwait with an estimated value of Dh23.6 billion (18 per cent) and Bahrain (13 per cent) with an estimated value of Dh16.8 billion.
This comes at a time when Arab countries accounted for 18 per cent of the state's total non-oil trade with a value of Dh213.4 billion, of which Dh55.6 billion were imports, Dh50.3 billion exports and Dh107.5 billion re-exports.
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