By Leila Hatoum
DUBAI March 29: Dubai’s 2015 non-oil foreign trade slightly dropped to AED 1.283 trillion ($350.5 billion), a 3.6 percent decrease from the previous year, the emirate’s official numbers showed on Tuesday.
This is the first recorded drop in Dubai’s non hydrocarbon foreign trade in seven years, when the global financial crisis impacted the world’s economy and trade figures.
Imports stood at AED 796 billion, while exports and re-exports recorded AED487 billion, according to a statement, which Newsweek Middle East received an electronic copy of from Dubai Ruler’s Media Office.
According to the statement, which quotes Dubai’s Crown Prince, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, “China maintained its position as Dubai’s leading trading partner with AED 176 billion of trade,” a slight rise of AED 1 billion from 2014.
India came in second on the list of Dubai’s trading partners with AED 96 billion in traded goods, a 12 percent drop from 2014’s AED 109 billion worth of trade. The United States came in third with an AED 1 billion drop from 2014, recording AED 82 billion.
Saudi Arabia remained Dubai’s top Arab and Gulf trading partner –fourth globally—with AED 57 billion, up AED 5 billion from 2014. Germany came in fifth with a total trade of AED 46 billion.
Despite a slowdown in the global trade throughout 2015, Dubai’s trade sector “continues to demonstrate a strong performance and significantly contributes to the country’s economic growth,” said Sheikh Hamdan, adding that this falls in line with the country’s plan to further diversify its economy away from hydrocarbon revenues.
The UAE’s long-term plan is to have a post-oil vibrant economy, which it has succeeded, so far, in lowering the hydrocarbon contribution to its GDP down to 30 percent.
Dubai, which positions itself as center for global trade at the crossroads of East and West, maintained its leading position as a global hub for precious metals and stones trading.
“Gold trading was valued at AED 117 billion, diamond trading at AED 94 billion, and jewelry trading at AED 65 billion,” according to the statement.