Wed 17-02-2016 16:46 PM

Report: AED 1.750 trillion UAE non-oil foreign trade in 2015, UAE is capital of economy and investment

ABU DHABI, 17th February, 2016 (WAM) -- The UAE Ministry of Economy has said that the value of the UAE’s non-oil foreign trade reached AED1.75 trillion (US$476.4 billion) in 2015, a growth of up to 10 percent from 2014, according to its report. The figures in the first half of 2015 are positive indicators for the UAE's foreign trade, including direct trade.

In its report, the Ministry of Economy pointed out that the figures show a rise in the country's competitiveness as a capital of regional trade, noting that the volume of the UAE’s non-oil trade (inclusive of free zones trade) was valued at AED1. 632 trillion (US$444.3 billion) in 2014, while its direct trade totalled AED1.072 trillion ($291.9 billion), and the value of imports reached AED696.4 billion ($189.6 billion). World Trade Organisation, WTO, figures show that the UAE’s exports amounted to AED132.2 billion ($36 billion) and re-exports totalled AED243.7 billion ($66.3 billion).

The Ministry of Economy also noted that the raise in the volume of UAE trade zones in 2014 amounted to about AED560 billion ($152.4 billion), confirming that the country managed to achieve the top rank in International Trade Statistics for 2015 released by the WTO.

According to the report, the UAE maintained its top ranking on the world trade map, coming 16th globally in commodity exports and 20th globally in commodity imports. In the area of service trade, the UAE ranked 19th globally as service importer, and 42nd globally in service exports.

The Ministry of Economy says that the figures and data contained in the WTO International Trade Statistics 2015 are promising, and reflect the continued success of the UAE's economic policies year after year. This success has boosted the UAE's position on the global trade arena and it is expected that the UAE will achieve more growth and progress as well as more positive results on all levels that come as part of the Federal Government's implementation of the UAE Vision 2021 and its National Agenda.

The WTO report offers an overview of the development the UAE experienced in the international commodity and service trade. The UAE made intensive efforts over the past years, represented by its opening up its economy to foreign trade and investment with the aim of increasing growth opportunities and achieving the well-being of its people and residents.

Dubai's win of the bid to host the World Expo 2020 and the groundbreaking development projects carried out by the UAE in several sectors, supported by many prestigious national initiatives such as the national innovation strategy, have together given a boost to ongoing efforts aimed at raising the country's profile and competitiveness to better improve the performance of various sectors, including trade.

The UAE has maintained its position as the most important market for exports and imports of goods in the Middle East and Africa countries.

The sector of Small and Medium-size Enterprises, SMEs, in the coming future will see a new phase of growth and development and will witness a significant turn during the coming phase with the start of the practical steps for the implementation of Federal Law No. 02 of 2014 on projects for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises.

The National Programme for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises and Projects aims to draw up the general outlines pertaining to the provision of technical, administrative, and training expertise and support in various fields for ensuring the continued development of small and medium enterprises.

The programme will co-ordinate with federal and local government entities, and the private sector, for the purpose of marketing SME products in the UAE and abroad. It will also co-ordinate with the concerned authorities for the provision of benefits and incentives for SMEs, as well as collaborate with the relevant regional and international entities to fast-track development of the SME sector.

In addition to playing a major role in the UAE's transformation towards a knowledge-based economy, SMEs are a key employment generator and mitigate adverse economic and social effects. Given its phenomenal potential, the UAE Vision 2021 has set up a national index that the contribution of the SME sector to the nation's non-oil GDP must reach 70 percent by 2021 Indicators issued by the Ministry of Economy, as well as reports from the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Authority, show that non-oil sectors today contribute to more than two thirds of the UAE’s GDP. These sectors have become the main stimulator of the overall economic growth. Growth of the overall economy is at 4.6 percent while growth in the non-oil sectors registered 8.1 percent in 2014.

GDP in 2014 reached AED1466.9 trillion at current prices, while the GDP at constant prices reached AED1154.8 trillion in 2014. Real GDP growth reached 4.6 percent in 2014 and is expected to grow in 2015 by 3 to 3.5 percent.

Non-oil sectors recorded strong growth in GDP at current prices and reached 8.1 percent in 2014, and the contribution of non-oil sectors in the national economy reached 68.6 percent of GDP at constant prices in 2014.This contribution is expected to reach 80 percent in 2021 through intensive investment in the industrial and tourism sectors, air and maritime transportation, import and re-export as well as through supporting activities based on the knowledge economy.

The industrial sector maintains a high contribution rate in the GDP at a share close to 15 percent, which is expected to increase in the coming years thanks to many economic sectors reaching their targeted objectives, and an expected move of more investments to the industrial sector's diversified offering which have continued to develop and grow significantly.

Capital invested in industrial facilities in the country reached AED127.3 billion, distributed between 6,041 facilities with a total of 433,939 employees. The industrial sector is a main driver to the national economy performance, and an important element to overall development and income sources diversification. The sector's contribution to GDP is approximately 14 percent, a continued increase.

The industrial sector is expected to double the volume of investment in the state over the next five years with the continuation of infrastructure projects, both at the federal level or within each emirate, as the country is preparing to work on a number of projects in the development of integrated industrial zones and the launching of huge projects for roads, creating a world-class transport network which will connect the most important residential and industrial centres in the country with a safe and cost-effective transportation network, coupled with its strategic location which makes it an ideal commercial and logistical centre for industrial products.

The UAE, over the last five years, has made intensified efforts to open up the economy to trade and foreign investment in order to increase growth opportunities and the welfare of its people and residents in the country. The government's efforts to raise the competitive level of the state reflects positively on various vital sectors, including the trade sector.

Local and international reports agree that the UAE has become a key player in international trade. Upward indicators of foreign trade reflect the trade openness policy pursued by the UAE to diversify the economy. The trade policy of the UAE, advanced infrastructure, strategic location and legislative environment are all factors contributing to the continuous growth of the trade sector.

The UAE government is continually making efforts with respect to international agreements, especially the UAE's membership of the WTO which dates back to March 1996. Under this membership, the first review of the UAE's trade policy between April 24th and 26th, 2006, and the second review, from March 27th to 29th, 2012, led to significant development of the trade sector in the country.

The UAE also seeks to expand the multilateral global trading system and the strategy of free trade negotiations within the framework of the Gulf Cooperation Council for the Arab States (GCC), with the signing of a free trade agreement between the GCC countries and Singapore, which came into force at the beginning of 2015, and the agreement between the GCC countries and The European Free Trade Association (Norway, Sweden, Iceland and Liechtenstein) on 22nd June, 2009.

There was also the signing of the free trade agreement between the GCC and New Zealand in October, 2009, and the GCC is still negotiating on free trade agreements with both the European Union and the Mercosur countries (Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Argentina), and individual agreements with Japan, China, South Korea, Australia, Pakistan, India and Turkey.

Information released in the WTO Trends in International Trade report has confirmed that the UAE is on the right approach to improving its trading system and progress year after year to new levels.

The report concluded by saying that the UAE took first position among Arab countries and was 22nd worldwide in the global investment index for 2015, thanks to the ability of its sectors to attract foreign investment.


WAM/Hanaa/Moran