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UAE’s international trade hits milestone amid oil price boom

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Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum tweets good news

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE vice president, prime minister and ruler of Dubai, on Monday revealed that the UAE’s non-oil trade exceeded AED1 trillion ($270 billion) for a six-month period for the first time.

In a tweet, Sheikh Mohammed said the country recorded a growth rate of 17 percent during the first half of 2022 compared to the second half of last year.

He added: “For the first time in the history of the UAE, the non-oil foreign trade exceeds AED1 trillion in just half a year… The UAE has proven to the world the recovery of international trade after the most difficult pandemic that humanity has gone through.

“Our economic growth is progressive and solid, our trade environment and infrastructure are the best and our economic approach is stable, fair and open to everyone… The growth of our economy aims to provide the best life for our people.”

Non-oil foreign trade totalled AED1.05 trillion, an increase of 25 percent and 35 percent compared to the same period in 2020 and 2019 respectively.

Abdullah bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy, said the UAE is “working non-stop” to enhance its position at the heart of the global trade networks “by adopting commercial and economic openness and strengthening its infrastructure and legislative framework”.

He added that this outcome is the result of the integrated efforts and initiatives announced by the UAE government as part of the Projects of the 50.

Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, said in comments published by state news agency WAM the milestone is part of plans to double the size of the national economy by 2030.

The UAE’s non-oil exports amounted to about AED180 billion for the first time in its history, up eight percent compared to the same period in 2021 and nearly doubled compared to H1 2017.

In terms of re-exports, the UAE recorded nearly AED300 billion for the first six month, a rise of 20 percent compared to the year-earlier period while imports increased to almost AED580 billion during the first half of 2022, up 19 percent.

Earlier this year, Standard Chartered produced a report forecasting that the UAE will be a key driver of global trade growth over the next decade, with its exports projected to grow at an average annual rate of more six percent to cross AED1.1 trillion by 2030.

The report said 13 markets will drive much of this growth, adding that India and mainland China will continue to be among the largest export corridors, accounting for 18 percent and 9.5 percent of total exports in 2030, respectively.

Standard Chartered said the UAE is focusing on expanding its exports beyond petroleum and reinforcing its position as a gateway to MENA, adding that sectors including metals and minerals, gold and machinery and electricals will dominate exports in 2030.

Earlier this month, the UAE Government’s net operating surplus more than doubled in the first quarter to AED36.4 billion as surging oil prices boosted public revenue, finance ministry data showed.

High oil prices and increased production have been a boon for the UAE’s economy this year, along with a continued recovery from the pandemic’s impact.