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UAE non-oil foreign trade hits record $952bn in 2023

ABU DHABI, February 18, 2024

The UAE has recorded solid economic growth for FY 2023 with its non-oil foreign trade figures reaching unprecedented heights, even surpassing its AED3.5 trillion ($952 billion) mark for the first time in the country's economic history despite the global downturn in international trade movement.
 
The record growth of the country's non-oil foreign trade  under the leadership of President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, coincides with a continuous increase in the value of non-oil exports in 2023, exceeding AED441 billion ($120 billion) with a growth rate of 16.7% compared to 2022, said HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, citing the UN Conference on Trade and Development data.
 
"We indicated at the beginning of 2023 that it would be a record economic year. The UAE has established new bridges of cooperation through comprehensive partnership agreements. Thus, our foreign trade with the top ten trading partners jumped by 26%, with Turkey by more than 103%, with Hong Kong-China by 47%, and with the USA by 20%," he stated.
 
The UAE today lies at the heart of international trade movement. Our economic commitments to everyone continue," he added.
 
According to him, the contribution of non-oil exports of goods to the country's overall foreign trade increased to 17.1%, up from 14.1% in 2019 and 13% in 2018.
 
Re-exports on the rise
 
Gold, aluminum, cigarettes, jewellery, copper wire and ethylene polymers topped the list of the country's most important exports of goods.
 
"The record growth in both total foreign trade and non-oil exports was accompanied by a similar increase in re-exports, which hit AED690 billion ($188 billion), a growth of 6.9% compared to 2022 and a growth rate of 27.7% compared to 2021. Re-exports continued their upward trend of growth over the recent years, excepting 2020, which is considered an exceptional year due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the accompanying closures around the world," he added.
 
Imports also increased to AED1.4 trillion ($380 billion), a growth of 14.2% compared to 2022. The top 10 imported commodities achieved a growth of 20.9% in 2023 compared to 2022, and the rest of the commodities grew by 6.3%. The most important imported commodities are gold, telephones, petroleum oils, cars and diamonds.
 
In 2023, the UAE’s services trade surplus grew to AED207 billion, up from AED96.26 billion in 2021, indicating a continued increase in its share of global service exports. 
 
Key sectors such as travel and tourism, ICT, professional and financial services, education, medical tourism, Islamic financial services, the creative economy, and logistics saw a significant contribution to this growth.
 
Top 10 trading partners
 
In 2023, the UAE’s non-oil trade with its top 10 partners grew significantly. Trade with Türkiye, which contributed 5.1% to the total, grew by 103.7%, the highest among the top 10. This followed the September implementation of the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement between the two countries.
 
Other notable increases were with Hong Kong-China (47.9%), which now ranks eighth among the UAE’s top ten trading partners, the US (20.1%), and China (4.2%). Trade with India, which has a similar agreement since May 2022, grew by 3.9%, accounting for over 7.6% of the total trade.
 
Non-oil exports to the top 10 partners grew by 26.9%, with Türkiye accounting for nearly 60% of UAE’s exports in the last five months of 2023 – and underlining the impact of the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement which came into force in September. India was the second-largest recipient of UAE exports.
 
China remained the UAE’s leading trading partner, followed by India, the US, Saudi Arabia, and Türkiye. The next five were Iraq, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Japan, and the Sultanate of Oman.-TradeArabia News Service



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