DAFZ records major surge in non-oil trade

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Non-oil trade of Dubai Airport Free Zone (DAFZ), rose by more than 36 per cent year-on-year in 2021, reinforcing Dubai’s strength as a global hub for trade and commerce.

Figures shared by DAFZ in cooperation with Dubai Customs showed that the free zone’s non-oil trade exceeded AED 162 billion last year compared with AED 119 billion the year before.

The exceptional results stem from DAFZ’s strategic initiatives and incentives to support and facilitate its community of multinational and small-to-medium businesses, enabling an investment environment and ensuring seamless trade activity.

The commercial capital of the region, Dubai offers businesses unparalleled access to some of the world’s largest emerging and established markets in the Middle East, Europe, Africa, India, Asia and beyond.

DAFZ, which is part of the Dubai Integrated Economic Zones Authority (DIEZ), contributed 10.7 per cent to Dubai’s non-oil trade in 2021, exceeding expectations across all sectors. It also recorded a trade surplus of AED 9.3 billion.

This growth was fuelled by the massive 48 per cent year-on-year increase in imports, exceeding even the record levels achieved in 2019 and resulting in a quadrupling of exports, reaching AED 1.4 billion in 2021.

"These results have been pivotal in promoting economic recovery in Dubai and the UAE. The free zone has fully recovered from the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, with trade returning to pre-2020 levels. This has reinforced its mission to enhance its strategic goals and contribute to strengthening Dubai’s position as a global trade hub," said His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of DIEZ.

Sectors and partners

In 2021, DAFZ achieved exceptional growth that contributed to surpluses in various sectors, particularly in the ‘machinery, equipment, and appliances’ and ‘precious stones, metals and jewellery’ sectors.

These two sectors achieved growth between 36% and 46% and made up an average of 94% of DAFZ’s overall trade.

Machinery, equipment, and appliances were the main contributor to DAFZ’s trade in 2021, making up 74.6% of exports with a value of AED 63.9 billion, and 77.1% of imports with a value of AED 58.9 billion.

Precious stones, metals, and jewellery made up 19.3% of exports with a value of AED 16.5 billion, and 16.7% of imports with a value of AED 12.7 billion.

In terms of DAFZ’s trading partners, Asia accounted for 43% of total trade with a value of AED 69.5 billion, followed by the Middle East and North Africa with 37% and a value of AED 60.7 billion, and Europe with 13% and a value of AED 21.6 billion.

DAFZ launched a series of economic stimulus packages to support international companies and SMEs during the pandemic to overcome the economic challenges that affected most business sectors.

This was in line with Dubai’s strategic vision to offer companies and businesses effective packages and incentives to provide flexibility in their operations and help them tackle the challenges posed by the pandemic.

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