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UAE unveils plans to broaden its foreign trade

To boost exports by 50 percent within the next few years, the UAE on Sunday unveiled plans to expand its foreign trade by entering 25 new international markets. The UAE’s Vice-President and Prime Minister, Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, posted a message via Twitter in which he highlighted the country’s trade accomplishments as well as its future goals.

‘I chaired a Cabinet meeting at Al Watan Palace in Abu Dhabi today. We approved the nation’s plan to enter 25 new countries to further expand our foreign trade,’ Sheikh Mohammed said. UAE non-oil trade currently exceeds Dh1.5 trillion annually, and its logistics network spans 400 global cities. Arab world’s second-largest economy is also among the top 20 for foreign trade competitiveness indicators, the Vice-President said.

Since the UAE’s non-oil economy makes up ‘more than 70%’ of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), Sheikh Mohammed said the ambition is to increase national exports by 50 percent. At constant prices, UAE GDP was 1.422 trillion dirhams in 2020, with non-oil GDP accounting for just over a trillion dirhams. According to the Central Bank of the UAE, even though the overall economy is expected to grow by 2.5 percent this year, the non-oil economy will grow by 3.6 percent. According to forecasts, the country’s GDP will grow by 3.5 percent in 2022, with non-oil growth rising to 3.9 percent.

‘Our federal and local governments work together to take our national economy to new heights. God willing, the UAE will remain a global non-oil economic capital during the coming decades. In addition, we adopted a national scale for research and development funds. The UAE spends 1.3% of its GDP on research and development. Arabs have been working in this field for the first time. In the future, we want to compete globally. Our goal is to consolidate knowledge through research and development,’ the Vice President said.

Cabinet has adopted a set of legislative amendments related to emergency and disaster response, health, education, and economics. The goal is to have the best quality of life in the world based on the most diversified and established economy, he noted. As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Central Bank of the UAE projects that the UAE economy will gradually recover between 2021 and 2022. The apex bank has found that the Targeted Economic Support Scheme has mitigated the risks associated with the pandemic by facilitating credit flow and providing assistance to affected individuals and businesses.

According to Minister of Economy Abdulla bin Touq, the UAE plans to double its size of the economy over the next decade. ‘Our Ministry of Economy and other government entities are working according to an ambitious plan to double our national economy over the next 10 years, to reach Dh3 trillion by 2031’, he said. According to him, the country is embracing the Fourth Industrial Revolution to accelerate its economic recovery.

UAE’s Federal Statistics and Competitiveness Centre reported that the UAE’s economy contracted 6.1% last year and non-oil GDP declined 6.2%, which the ministry described as a ‘comparatively low decline’ given the state of other major global economies.

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Based on a new study conducted by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, non-oil trade in the UAE could grow as much as 12.9% in 2021, due to an increased maritime transport activity and other global economic trends. Dubai and Abu Dhabi showed impressive growth in non-oil foreign trade in 2020, despite global pandemic headwinds. Dubai’s foreign trade in 2020 reached Dh1.182 trillion, while Abu Dhabi’s non-oil foreign trade topped Dh201.2 billion.


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