The UAE’s GDP is set to expand 3.5 percent this year against 2.8 per cent in 2018, thanks to a stimulus package worth AED50 billion announced last year along with a host of other measures for the ease of doing business in all the emirates, said Director of Dubai Customs, Ahmed Mahboob Musabih, while chairing the first quarterly Consultative Council meeting in 2019.
The meeting was attended by Abdullah Mohammed Al Khaja, Executive Director of Clients Management Division, Farid Hassan Al Marzouqi, Executive Director, Human Resources, Finance and Administration Division, and Edris Behzad, Director of Client Happiness Department and the Council’s rapporteur.
Dubai Customs has recently hit a record by scoring 97.49 percent on Smart Dubai’s Happiness Meter.
Musabih said Dubai’s non-oil trade maintained its levels against a backdrop of economic turmoil and global conflicts and the vague British position on Brexit. Europe is one of Dubai’s main partners and together they make up 19 percent of the total trade business, he said.
Commenting on the steps Dubai Customs has taken to facilitate trade and ease the burden of companies and traders, Musabih said, “We have recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Free Zones Council to help with the implementation of the ‘Virtual Stock Guarantee’ initiative. The new facility was developed by Dubai Customs to support re-export activity from free zones to external markets within the Dubai Customs’ efforts to help the emirate maintain a leading position and turn into a world economic capital. This initiative is the first of its kind in the world.”
More than 18,000 companies based in 24 free zones and 37 customs warehouses can benefit from the Virtual Stock Guarantee facility, in addition to customs warehouse companies willing to use it to re-export their goods solely through Dubai’s air and sea ports, and the UAE land exits.
The consultative council members had a number of suggestions including one from the Dubai Computer Group, DCG, of establishing a mobile phone assembly factory in Dubai, with members also discussing means to strengthen the activity of re-exporting electronics.
Nassim Saeed Al Mehairi, Senior Manager, Statistics and Studies Section, briefed the members on Dubai latest trade figures of 2018. Dubai trade has grown 72 percent between 2009 and 2018, with 44 percent growth in trade volume.
China maintained its position as Dubai’s biggest trading partner in 2018 with AED139 billion worth of trade. India came in second with AED116 billion, followed by the USA in third place with AED81 billion. Saudi Arabia continued to be Dubai’s largest Arab trade partner and its fourth largest global trade partner with AED55 billion, followed by Switzerland in fifth place with AED49 billion.