The value of exports and re-exports by Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry members reached AED 136.2 billion during the first six months of this year – an increase of 13.3% compared to the same period in 2011. Dubai Chamber’s half year data shows that its members’ exports and re-exports between January and June 2012 were worth AED 16 billion more than the same period in 2011, when they were valued at AED 120.3 billion. Also, making a record was the month of May as Dubai Chamber members’ exports and re-exports achieved the highest monthly tally of AED 28 billion since the founding of Dubai Chamber in 1965. This particular month registered a 26.3% growth compared to May of 2011 which had a total of AED 22.1 while the monthly figure of AED 19.7 in February was the lowest during the six month period. During the first half, Dubai Chamber issued a total of 373,000 certificates of origin (COs). This is an increase of 8.4%, compared to the 344,067 certificates of origin issued during the first six months of 2011. May was the month with the highest number of certificates issued 70,000, while February was the month with the least 57,000. Between January and June, a total of 7,000 new members joined Dubai Chamber. This is a 30% increase on the same period in 2011 when 5,233 new members joined. This increases the total number of Dubai Chamber members to over 135,000 by the end of June. In H1, Dubai Chamber reviewed 19 federal and local laws and ministerial decisions. These drafts include law concerning foreign investments, a draft law concerning Financial Restructuring and Bankruptcy, and Ministry of Labour decisions pertaining to wages protection, work permits and classification of establishments as well as Law amending Criminalisation of Money Laundering – Law No: 4/2002 and Cabinet Decision Pertaining to Local Products’ Priority in Government Purchases, 2012. Hamad Buamim, Director General, Dubai Chamber, stated that the excellent performance of the trade sector, especially this time achieving the highest monthly total since the founding of Dubai Chamber in 1965, clearly shows the strength of the trade sector in driving the economic growth of Dubai. “Our members’ export and re-export figures reinforce the investors’ confidence in the health of Dubai’s trade sector which is leading the economic drive along with tourism, logistics and financial services while also indicating that the emirate’s economy is poised to meet its forecasted percentage growth this year,” said Buamim. He further stressed that Dubai Chamber in H1 concentrated on policy advocacy as the Chamber reviewed 19 federal and local laws, as well as ministerial decisions in assisting Dubai lawmakers make the city even more business friendly and attractive to foreign investors. The Director General informed that Dubai Chamber, under the recommendations of His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of thee UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to stimulate the business environment of Dubai, has launched a new strategy of expanding into new and emerging markets in Africa and Latin America. “To that effect, Dubai Chamber has organised outbound trade missions to Surat and Addis Ababa while also announced the opening of two satellite representative offices in Ethiopia and Azerbaijan by the year’s end which will be followed by 20 similar overseas offices soon,” said Buamim. “As part of Dubai Chamber’s mission to represent, support and protect the interests of the business community, our value-added services and initiatives including the new strategy of exploring new markets are all aimed at enhancing the competitiveness of Dubai businesses in the global business arena as well as to promote Dubai as a favourite global FDI centre for which we are ready to continue with the hard work throughout the rest of the year,” added Buamim. Also during the same period, Dubai Chamber focused more sharply on its role as a business facilitator and promoter of Dubai by supporting the emirate’s growth as a global centre of strategic events, exhibitions and conferences. The Chamber issued 22 ATA Carnets from January to June 2012 with invoice value of AED 12,189,878 which clearly reflects the success of the temporary admission of goods system since its launch in April 2011. The half year data also shows that during the first six months Dubai Chamber received 121 international delegations, comprised of 768 delegates including government officials and businessmen in contrast to 49 global delegations comprising of 500 delegates received during the same period last year with a 146% increase. The high profile delegations included Abdulla Gul, the Turkish President, and Valdis Dombrovskis, the Latvian Prime Minister. The delegates were from Italy, Japan, Germany, Sudan, Chile, Jordan, Egypt, Hungary, Turkey, Hong Kong, Tajikistan, USA, Australia, Tunisia, China, Latvia, Portugal, Lebanon, Ghana, Russia, Uruguay, Malaysia, Uganda, Norway, Iran, France, Tatarstan and Vietnam. Dubai Chamber participated in 32 events around the world, particularly in 24 cities from 19 countries including the USA, Canada, Libya, Ethiopia, France, Tanzania, the UK, Belgium, Oman, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Greece, India, Italy, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and Vietnam to promote Dubai. The Chamber also took outbound delegations comprising of over 20 delegates each to the Consumer Electronics Show 2012 in Las Vegas, Surat in India, and Ethiopia in Africa where they discussed cooperation in various sectors of interest for Dubai businesses. The number of foreign trade delegations that Dubai Chamber received between January and June demonstrates the emirate’s attractiveness to global investors as well as its status as a thriving business destination. Offering world-class arbitration services was Dubai International Arbitration Centre (DIAC), a Dubai Chamber initiative which received 183 arbitration cases in the first six months of the year, while the Legal Services Department received 334 mediation cases thus taking the total to 517 total cases received during the same period. Dubai Chamber also organised quarterly meetings for its business councils and business groups to discuss issues facing the business community and to recommend the same to the concerned government authorities while it also held its Talk Business at Breakfast networking events which brought together representatives of the private sector and Dr. Mohammed Al Zarooni, Director General of Dubai Airport Free Zone, and Hussain Nasser Lootah, Director General of Dubai Municipality. With the joining of the Somali Business Council, the number of business councils reached 41 and 26 business groups by coming on board of the Lawyers and Legal Consultants Business Group thus taking the total of business councils and business groups, operating under the umbrella of Dubai Chamber, to 67. As part of its latest initiative to facilitate the growth of entrepreneurship, the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD) for providing financial services of up to US $100 million (AED 367 million) to small and medium enterprises in the emirate. The agreement also offers assistance in managing and utilisation of finances, better understanding of repayment, collection and recovery programmes, as well as business progress reviews to the representatives of small and medium enterprises. The Dubai Chamber-hosted Diplomatic Circle Dinner of the year was attended by Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State and Managing Director of Dubai Expo 2020 Executive Bid Committee. Dubai Chamber maintained its lead in the excellence program by offering innovative services to its customers thus winning the Best Result in Customer Satisfaction award for the third year in a row at the 15th session of the prestigious Dubai Government Excellence Program.