Dubai’s non-oil foreign trade registered 6.6 per cent growth during the first quarter of 2012, amounting to over Dhs298.1 billion, compared to Dhs279.7 billion achieved in the first quarter of last year, according to latest statistics released by Dubai Customs. Ahmed Butti Ahmed, Executive Chairman of Ports, Custom and Free Zone Corporation, Dubai Customs Director General, said, “The continued growth in Dubai’s foreign trade reflects the strength and resilience of the UAE economy, thereby affirming the wise approach adopted to support economic diversity.” Ahmed further explained that the statistics presented include non-oil direct trade, free zone trade and customs warehouses. The Dubai Custom’s top official shared that the growth of Dubai’s trade flow with countries from different parts of the world can be widely attributed to the implementation of several economic, tourism and construction projects, which also includes the development of modern infrastructure like customs facilities at ports and airports and the provision of more advanced services. Dubai Customs has expressed its keenness in constantly improving the services provided to customers, exporters and importers while also developing more strategic regulations and procedures of Custom Clearance a move that shows support for the continuing efforts to achieve sustainable development in the UAE and help attract more investments into the country. The move also looks toward preserving the gains achieved by Dubai’s positioning as a strategic trade link between East and West. The emirate’s strength as a trading hub is demonstrated by the strong relations maintained with countries from all over the world and is further consolidated with the presence of a wide network of leading shipping companies and air and sea liners based in Dubai ports and airports. “The continued growth of Dubai’s foreign trade has mainly resulted in the development of modern customs systems that ensures offering a wide range of high quality services to the private sector and shipping and logistics companies,” added Ahmed. Ahmed has also revealed that Dubai’s imports reached Dhs175.2billion during the first quarter of 2012, as compared to the Dhs166.2billion posted over the same period in 2011. The figures presented represent a growth rate of 5.4 per cent while the value of exports and re-exports over the first quarter of 2012 amounted to over Dhs122.9,bn, which shows a growth of 8.5% from the Dhs113.4bn entered during the same period in 2011. According to Ahmed Butti, the country’s positive trade rates and the continuing development of both infrastructure and legislative directives that are aimed at attracting more foreign investments, are expected to boost the UAE’s chances of hosting Expo 2020. Aside from these factors, the chances are further made stronger with the country’s experience in hosting previous international events like the annual meeting of the Board of Governor’s of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund in 2003. The Dubai Customs Director General also added that the UAE’s openness to the world markets, combined with its capacity to deal with diverse consumer products has helped in addressing cultural diversification in the country. Also, the growing purchasing power parity has also contributed to the increase in the volume of imports. Moreover, high quality Emirati made products, the promotion of the national industry and the strategic facilities offered to exporters, have also played a significant role in increasing export volumes and expanding into more foreign markets. India is currently ranked as Dubai’s top trading partner in terms of imports, exports and re-exports, achieving as total value of over Dhs40billion. It emerged as Dubai’s top exporting and re-exporting country at Dhs21billion and came second in terms of imports at Dhs19billion, following China at Dhs25.5billion, while the US came in third place at AED16billion. Unwrought, worked and semi-manufactured gold topped the list of Dubai’s imports with Dhs25.6billion from January to March 2012, followed by diamonds at Dhs13.9billion and jewelry and precious metals at Dhs11.7billion. Imports of telecom equipment have reached Dhs11.4billion, while cars touched Dhs7.6billion. Gold was also the number one product to be exported from Dubai during the said period at Dhs18.6billion, followed by jewelry and precious metals at Dhs1.4billion and non-crude oil at Dhs1.2billion. Telecom equipment and devices came in first in terms of re-exported products from Dubai to the rest of the world at Dhs19.5billion, followed by diamonds at Dhs13.6billion, non-crude oil at Dhs4.6billion, IT machinery at Dhs4.3billion and gold at Dhs3.2billion.