Exports and re-exports of Dubai Chamber members to GCC countries rose by over 10-fold from Dh17 billion in 1998 to Dh180 billion in 2014, according to a report issued by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry on the occasion of its 50th anniversary celebrations.
“Dubai Chamber is proud to have contributed to economic development in the region as indicated by our report highlighting the export trends of Dubai Chamber members. Over the last 50 years, the Chamber has represented and protected the interests of the business community in Dubai. The Chamber will continue with its commitment to support the development of business and promote Dubai as a regional and international business hub,” said Hamad Buamim (in pic, right), president and CEO, Dubai Chamber.
“As we celebrate Dubai Chamber’s 50th anniversary, we are optimistic about the Chamber’s expanding role as an international catalyst for business growth through innovative initiatives and programmes as well as business-friendly policy direction,” Buamim added.
Following the implementation of customs unification, exports and re-exports among the member nations peaked by 44 per cent in 2007. Between 2003 and 2007, average annual export growth reached 34 per cent, with total exports rising from Dh27 billion to Dh87 billion, according to Dubai Chamber statistics.
The report further points out that the growth rate slowed to 28 per cent in 2008 as the global financial crisis put brakes on growth, with total value of exports reaching Dh111 billion. With the global crisis deepening in 2009, members’ exports to the GCC dipped by 19 per cent to a lower total value of Dh90 billion, the report adds.
With Dubai’s economy bouncing back, recovery was immediate with total exports to the region growing by 12 per cent in 2010 to a total value of Dh101 billion. Growth gathered speed thereafter, accelerating 15 per cent in 2012 to cross the 2008 level of Dh115 billion, and further by 20 per cent in 2013 to reach Dh164 billion. While exports growth declined by 10 per cent in 2014, it was much higher than the overall growth of only two per cent, states the Dubai Chamber report.
Saudi Arabia emerged as the largest export and re-export market for Dubai Chamber members in view of its market size both in terms of area and population, the report stated. In 1998, up to 45 per cent of total exports to the GCC were destined to Saudi Arabia, valued at Dh7.4 billion, followed by Qatar at 23 per cent and Kuwait at 15 per cent. Oman and Bahrain had shares of five per cent and four per cent respectively.
Trade between companies in Dubai’s free zones and special areas outside the customs territory and those inside (referred to as exports to UAE) accounted for eight per cent. However, the shares of Qatar and Kuwait fell by 20 per cent and 11 per cent respectively while Saudi Arabia’s share remained steady at 45 per cent.
The UAE share meanwhile expanded to 15 per cent. Saudi Arabia continued to remain a focal market for Dubai Chamber members with exports and re-exports to the country expanding considerably in 2014 to reach 54 per cent of the GCC market share.
On the other hand, growth of exports to Qatar slipped further to reach 13 per cent. There was some reprieve for Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain with exports to these countries marginally increasing to 12 per cent, seven per cent and four per cent respectively. Reflecting the Dubai Chamber members’ growing interest in exports to GCC countries, the UAE’s share reached 10 per cent.
The Chamber members’ preference for GCC markets is evident. In 2012, exports to other destinations posted only one per cent growth compared to 18 per cent growth witnessed in exports to GCC countries. By 2013, the GCC recorded 20 per cent growth, taking the region’s share to 57 per cent.
Meanwhile, export growth to the GCC slowed to 10 per cent in 2014. Exports and re-exports to other destinations continued to decline, leading to the overall growth of two per cent during the year. Thus, GCC’s share of exports to total exports during the year reached a peak of 62 per cent, the report adds.