9% growth rate in exports and 86% growth rate in UAE's Foreign Trade over 5 years.
The UAE total volume of non-oil foreign trade reached about 663 billion dirham in terms of value in 2009, of which 449.2 billion dirham for imports value, 66 billion dirham for exports value, and 147.8 billion dirham for re-export value. While, in terms of weight, the UAE trade reached about 80.5 million tons, of which 49.2 million tons for imports weight, 22.4 million tons for exports weight, and 8.9 million tons for re-exports weight.
Khalid Ali Al Bostani, the acting Director General of the Federal Customs Authority (FCA), said that customs data showed 16 % decline in value of the state's foreign trade over 2009 compared to 2008 value, where the total value of foreign trade was 663 billion dirham in 2009 against 788.7 billion dirham in the previous year, due to consequences of the global financial crisis that hit the world late in 2008, and continued throughout the following year. He confirmed that the decline rate is considered small compared to many of other countries in the world and to expectations of many analysts of economic growth at levels of the state and the region.
Al Bostani pointed out that customs data on the state's foreign trade volume revealed that the value of exports to external world increased by 9 % over 2009 compared to the previous year (2008), where exports value rose from 60 billion Dirham in 2008 to 66 billion Dirham in 2009. Meanwhile, imports value remarkably declined in 2009 at 29%, where it decreased to 449.2 billion dirham against 565.7 billion dirham in 2008, as well as value of re-exports retreated at 9%, from 163 billion dirham in 2008 to 147.8 billion dirham in 2009.
He added: "the increase in volume of exports and decrease in value of imports reflect the level of improvements witnessed in the state's trade balance with the external world over the previous year, as well as they assert growth in competitiveness of the UAE exports in the universal markets, despite consequences of the financial crisis which hit world economies during the past year." Al Bostani illustrated that the state's volume of foreign trade reaching 80.5 million tons in 2009 means that the daily average weights of different types of consignments processed by customs ports, whether by exporting, importing or re-exporting, reached about 336 thousand tons during day on the basis of official working hours (8 hours for 5 years a week), with an hourly average of 42 thousand tons, which reflects high competency of customs ports in the state.
Regarding the geographical distribution of the foreign trade map for the state during the past year, the acting Director General of the FCA said that India, China, the US, Germany, Japan, the UK, South Korea, Italy, France, and the KSA respectively came in front of the countries with which the UAE dealt under the imports item in 2009 with value of 289 billion Dirham at 64% of the UAE total value of imports. On the other hand, India, Switzerland, Qatar, the KSA, Iran, the Sultanate of Oman, Pakistan, Jebel Ali Free Zone, Nigeria, and Iraq came in front of countries under the non-oil exports item with value of 48.5 billion dirham at 74% of the total volume in the same year.
He added: "Iran, India, Iraq, the KSA, Jebel Ali Free Zone, Qatar, Switzerland, Bahrain, Afghanistan, and Hong Kong respectively came in front of countries under re-exporting item, with value of 97.4 billion dirham at 66% of total volume of re-exporting." He continued: "Among the strong indicators to improvement in the UAE economy and recovery from consequences of the world financial crisis, is that reflected by the customs data on the fourth quarter of 2009. It was noted that the growth curve continued in the different items of trade in the fourth quarter compared to the rest of the period of the same year, with the trade volume of imports reaching 114 billion Dirham at a growth rate of 0.2 % for the first quarter and 3% for the second quarter and 4 % for the third quarter, as well as the value of re-exporting reaching 39.7 billion dirham at a growth rate of 9% for the first quarter and 15% for the second quarter and 7 % for the third quarter, and the value of exports also witnessed a large increase in the same period, reaching 21 billion Dirham at a growth rate of 48 % for the first quarter and 42% for the second quarter and 33 % for the third quarter." The acting Director General of the Federal Customs Authority mentioned that customs data on foreign trade of the State in five years (2005-2009) reflects the extent of development and growth experienced by the UAE economy in the long term, disclosing a rise in total foreign trade volume of the State in terms of value during that period to about two trillion and 778 billion Dirham, including trillion and 942.5 billion dirham for the value of imports, and 206.8 billion Dirham for the value of exports, and 628.7 billion for the value of re-exports.
He added: The rate of growth in total foreign trade volume of the State in terms of value reached 86 %, where it rose from about 355 billion dirham in 2005 to 663 billion dirham in 2009 with an increase of 308 billion dirham during the same period.
The total foreign trade volume in terms of weight during that period (2005-2009) reached about 507 million tons, of which 263.2 million tons of imports, 199.7 million ton of exports, and 44.1 million tons of re-exports.
Al-Bostani pointed out that the value of imports during the five-year period achieved growth rate of 82%, rising from 247 billion dirham at the beginning of the period to 449.2 billion dirham at the end of the same period with an increase of 202.2 billion dirham, while the value of exports realized a significant growth rate of 310%, after rising from 16 billion dirham to 66 billion dirham, up 50 billion dirham. Also, the value of re-exports increased by 60 % reaching 147.8 billion dirham in 2009, compared to 92 billion dirham in 2005, with an increase of 55.8 billion dirham.
Al-Bostani said that data and figures of trade exchange are the mirror which reflects the efficiency of customs performance of any State on the ground of reality, as they represent one of strong indications, as well as other indicators, on the efficiency and development of the customs outlets and thus the efficiency and development of the national economy as a whole, given that the customs outlets is the front or the first official contact point with the outside world.
He added: The Federal Customs Authority sought, in cooperation with local customs departments, to simplify procedures, to standardize fee customs duties in all the outlets of the State, to shorten the time of the release of the customs consignments, and to strengthen regional and international cooperation, on the basis of firm conviction of the need to facilitate trade to achieve the economic growth targeted in the context of the federal strategy or local plans of different Emirates. At the same level, the FCA sought to protect society from any security, health and financial risks threatening individuals and institutions without such protection causing the reduction of the freedom of trade or openness to the outside world.
He noted that previous indicators reflects many of important indications at the level of customs action, and that it also accurately outlines the features of the customs map in the United Arab Emirates and the role of customs administrations in raising the efficiency of performance and maximize the competitiveness of the national economy, taking into account the importance of economic, legislative and political and other infrastructure factors in achieving economic and commercial growth and prosperity.
He explained that the volume of foreign trade of the State reflects the area of importance occupied by the United Arab Emirates on the map of world trade and the global economy and, its turn into a large trade centre in the region and the world, and growth of the role of the State in achieving economic growth through activating and raising the efficiency of the customs sector, in accordance with the new concept of the role of the State in light of the implementation of the mechanisms of the free economy, in addition to the growing role of the FCA and various customs departments in the national economy system and raising the efficiency and competitiveness of the economy between the countries of the region.
He referred to the growing role played by the United Arab Emirates as the first trade gateway, not only for the region of the Arab Gulf, but also for various territories in the world, including: Territories of Asia and the Pacific, North Africa and the Middle East, Europe, and Eastern and Southern Africa, as evidenced by the order of trading partners of the State and their geographical locations, as well as re-exporting data mentioned above. He pointed out that the geographical map of foreign trade of the United Arab Emirates is widening to include 198 states in the world, which means multiplicity of cultures, languages, regulations and customs procedures, as well as security risks, which ultimately reflects the rise in the capacity and efficiency of local customs organs in facilitating the movement of trade and protecting the homeland of multiple risks related to trade.
Evaluating the efforts of the "Economy", "Foreign Trade," and Local Customs, Al-Bostani praised the cooperation between the ministries of Economy and Foreign Trade and local customs departments in the various stages of customs data collection and auditing in the past period, pointing out that the formation of a Statistical Committee, under the chairmanship of the Federal Customs Authority and the membership of the Ministry of Economy and local customs departments, to audit statistical data on the foreign trade and to activate cooperation between different departments in the area of data and statistics.
He added that the Committee put many of the scientific basis for the preparation and auditing of statistical data on foreign trade of the State to ensure the greatest degree of accuracy, which has a major impact on raising the level of accuracy in data of foreign trade, indicating that the Committee meets every three months to discuss issues on its agenda, and that it has recently decided to issue customs statements on foreign trade of the State on a monthly basis to help economic decision makers to take proper decisions.