The value of the UAE’s non-oil foreign trade amounted to $381.47 billion in 2020, as the Arab world’s second-largest economy braved pandemic-driven uncertainties and continue the trade momentum.
The country’s non-oil exports grew 10.1 percent year-on-year to Dh254.6bn in 2020, as the UAE “commands a coveted position globally and regionally in merchandise trade”, state news agency Wam reported on Wednesday, citing data released by the Federal Centre for Competitiveness and Statistics (FCSA).
Non-oil imports to the UAE hit Dh785.1bn, accounting for 56 per cent of the total merchandise trade last year. Re-exports from the country accounted for 26 per cent, with a value of Dh363.4bn of the total trade volume in 2020, Wam said.
The UAE, the commercial and trading hub of the Middle East, maintained strong trade activity last year, despite the Covid-19 pandemic, which severely disrupted economic momentum and hampered global supply chains. The world economy, which slid into its deepest recession in 2020, has recovered and is expected to grow 6 per cent this year, according to the International Monetary Fund.
The volume of world merchandise trade, which slumped 5.3 per cent in 2020, is also rebounding from the pandemic-induced collapse that bottomed out in the second quarter of last year. It is expected to grow 8 per cent in 2021, according to the World Trade Organization estimates.
China retained its top rank as the main trading partner of the UAE, with the value of bilateral trade reaching Dh174bn, followed by Saudi Arabia at Dh104bn and India with Dh102.5bn in third place. The US was the fourth largest trade partner with Dh80.2bn, followed by Iraq at Dh53bn.
The top five trading partners accounted for 36.6 per cent of the UAE’s non-oil foreign trade, as compared to 44.1 per cent in 2019, “corroborating the improved competitiveness status boasted by the UAE in terms of diversifying into multiple markets”, according to the report.
Switzerland topped the UAE’s export markets with Dh29.2bn in value. It accounted for 11.5 per cent of the UAE’s total non-oil exports, followed by Saudi Arabia at Dh25.6bn, India at Dh19.7bn, Turkey accounting for Dh18.4bn and Italy at Dh18.2bn.
In terms of imports, China remained the UAE’s top partner in 2020, with total value of non-oil commodities at Dh144.4bn. It was followed by the US with Dh60.5bn, India at Dh60bn, Japan at Dh34.7bn and Germany reaching Dh26.7bn. These five countries made up 41.6 per cent of the UAE’s total imports, according to the FCSA data.
Saudi Arabia was the UAE’s top partner in terms of re-exports, with a total value of Dh54.6bn, followed by Iraq at Dh40.6bn, Oman at Dh23.3bn, India at Dh22.3bn and China at Dh19.6bn.