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UAE’s non-oil trade hits all-time high of $953bn

The UAE's non-oil exports exceeded AED441 billion last year, with a growth rate of 16.7% year on year Creative Commons
The UAE's non-oil exports exceeded AED441 billion last year, with a growth rate of 16.7% year on year

The UAE’s non-oil trade reached a record high of AED3.5 trillion ($952.93 billion) in 2023.

“This is a genuine milestone for our nation,” said Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade.

“The expansion of foreign trade is a pillar of the UAE’s economic strategy, a driving force of growth and diversification and a catalyst for sectors that focus on innovation, knowledge, and advanced technology.”

The increase comes despite a five percent decline in global trade in the first half of 2023 and an eight percent fall in exports in the third quarter

Foreign trade with the UAE’s top 10 trading partners jumped by 26 percent.

Non-oil exports exceeded AED441 billion in 2023, with a growth rate of 16.7 percent year on year. The contribution of non-oil goods exports to the country’s overall foreign trade increased to 17.1 percent year on year.

Re-exports hit a new high of AED690 billion, rising 6.9 percent annually. 

Imports increased to AED1.4 trillion, climbing 14 percent compared to 2022. Among the most important imported commodities were gold, telephones, petroleum oils, cars and diamonds.

The services trade surplus grew to AED207 billion, up from AED96 billion in 2021. Key sectors such as travel and tourism, ICT, professional and financial services, education, medical tourism, Islamic financial services, creative economy and logistics significantly contributed to this growth.

Trade with Turkey, which contributed 5 percent to the total, rose by 104 percent, the highest among the top 10 trading countries, following the implementation of the comprehensive economic partnership agreement (Cepa) in September 2023. 

Trade with Hong Kong-China was up 48 percent and ranked eighth among the UAE’s top 10 trading partners, while the US increased 20 percent and China four percent. 

Trade with India, which has operated a Cepa since May 2022, grew by 3.9 percent, accounting for over 7.6 percent of the total trade.

Non-oil exports to the top 10 partners grew by 27 percent, with Turkey accounting for nearly 60 percent of exports in the last five months of 2023. 

China remained the UAE’s top trading partner, followed by India, the US, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.  

Gold, aluminium, oils, cigarettes, jewellery, copper wire and ethylene polymers topped the list of the country’s exports.

In Q4 2023, the UAE’s non-oil foreign goods trade reached AED710 billion, a 16.3 percent year on year increase and growth of 12.4 percent quarter on quarter.  

Non-oil exports of goods reached AED132.2 billion, up 39.3 percent year on year. Non-oil exports have consistently surpassed AED100 billion since Q1 2023.

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