UAE non-oil foreign trade at Dh1.2 trillion in 9 months

By Eudore R. Chand

ABU DHABI 28 January 2019: UAE’s non-oil foreign trade has achieved growth in re-exports of 5 percent during the first nine of 2018, compared to the same period last year, according to preliminary statistical data of the Federal Customs Authority (FCA).

The authority said that the volume of non-oil foreign trade in UAE (direct trade, free zone trade and customs warehouses) reached Dh1.2 trillion during the first nine months of 2018.

It pointed out that the non-oil foreign trade accounted for 62 percent of total non-oil foreign trade amounting to Dh726.4 billion, while non-oil foreign trade of the state`s free zones accounted for 37 percent of the total value of Dh439.2 billion, followed by customs warehouses with 2 percent equivalent to Dh8.4 billion.

Non-oil Imports

The authority stated that the value of non-oil imports amounted to Dh697.2 billion, noting that the imports of native and semi-proceed gold came at the forefront of the best imported goods worth Dh83.4 billion equivalent to 12 percent of the total value of states’s imports during the said period.

Telephone equipment ranked second with Dh54.1 billion representing 8 percent followed by cars imports of Dh42.3 billion value at 6 percent, gold ornaments and jewelry by Dh38 billion equivalent to 5.5 percent, followed by petroleum oils by Dh36.4 billion representing 5.2 percent of the country’s total imports.


The value of UAE exports reached Dh134.7 billion, where gold exports was at the forefront with a value of Dh30.2 billion, representing 22 percent of the total UAE exports during that period, followed by raw aluminum at Dh13 billion value (10 percent), followed by cigarettes at Dh8.6 billion (6.4 percent), gold ornaments and jewelry Dh8 billion value (6 percent), and ethylene polymers with all its forms (6.2 percent) with a 5 percent of the total exports value.


The value of re-exports during the mentioned period amounted to Dh342.2 billion compared to Dh325.2 billion of the previous year period achieving a growth rate of 5 percent.

According to the authority’s preliminary statistical data, telephone equipment ranked first as the best commodity to be re-exported from the UAE in the first nine months of 2018 at Dh63.6 billion (19 percent) of total re-exports, followed by non-compounded diamonds valued at Dh37.5 billion with a contribution of 11 percent, gold ornaments and jewelry Dh34 billion (10 percent), cars with Dh27.3 billion (8 percent), air vehicle parts Dh12.7 billion (4 percent) of total re-exports during that period.

Ali Saeed Al Neyadi, Customs Commissioner and Head of the Authority, said that the country’s 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.

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, which resulted in the continuing of the structure of trading partners during the first nine months of 2018 to be the same as in the past few years, with almost the same commercial proportions, reflecting the strength of trade relations with the world and its ability to meet global trade challenges.

Preliminary statistics of the Authority indicate that the Asia-Pacific region was at the forefront of trading partners during the period, accounting for 42 percent of the total non-oil trade of the state with a share of Dh460.6 billion, while the region of Europe was the second with a share of Dh250.2 billion (23 percent) of the total, then the Middle East and North Africa region of Dh207 billion (19percent), America and the Caribbean region Dh102 billion (9.2percent) of the total, the region of East and South Africa Dh46.4 billion (4.2percent) and finally West and Central Africa (39.7 percent), representing 3.6 percent.

Geographical Break-up

With regard to the State’s trade with the GCC countries, Al Neyadi said that GCC countries are a major component of the UAE’s trade relations because of geographic, historic and common destiny facts. He pointed out that the GCC countries share accounted for 11 percent of the total non-oil trade in the UAE with Dh131.2 billion value, of which Dh40.6 billion were of imports, Dh31.3 billion of exports and Dh59.3 billion of re-export.

He added that Saudi Arabia is the largest trading partner of the UAE between the GCC countries and the Arab countries noting that the total trade with the Kingdom amounted to Dh58.3 billion, accounting for nearly half of the country’s trade with the Gulf states (44 percent), followed by Oman with an estimated value of Dh32.5 billion (25 percent), Kuwait with an estimated value of Dh23.6 billion (18 percent) and the Kingdom of Bahrain (13 percent with an estimated value of Dh16.8 billion.

This comes at a time where Arab countries accounted for 18 percent of the total non-oil trade of the state with the countries of the world during the period mentioned with a value of Dh213.4 billion, of which Dh55.6 billion as imports, Dh50.3 billion as exports, and Dh107.5 billion as re-exports.

Dubai Gazette