A global leader in innovation as a hyper-connected pro-business hub between the East & the West, providing unrivalled access to the world’s highest potential economies, Dubai is proven to deliver an efficient, secure and future forward network ecosystem for accelerated growth.
- Proven gateway to wider Middle East, Africa and South Asia – a region with a projected combined GDP of over US$12.8 trillion by 2030
- Dubai key pivot on Africa-China trade development corridor. Non-oil trade between UAE and Africa grew by over 700 per cent over the last decade, valued at US$24 billion
- China ranked as UAE’s largest trade partner in 2016, with bilateral trade forecast to rise to US$80 billion in the next two years
- Dubai plays a vital role in China’s ‘One Road, One Belt’ initiative – and maritime belt programme – with joint US$10 billion fund
- India, the UAE’s second-largest trade partner in 2016 with US$25.6 billion in non-oil bilateral trade, is pushing new trade opportunities following signing of 14 strategic agreements in 2016.
- Powerful global reputation as a re-export and trans-shipment solution, largely via Jebel Ali Port, reaching 140 destinations from Dubai
Since 1988, Dubai’s total international trade has grown by over 11% year-on- year, and the
emirate’s strategic geopolitical location reinforces its attraction as a unique trade hub along the
modern-day Silk Road.
An Emirates NBD’s 2016 Macro Strategy report called Dubai the “nerve centre of trade” in the
UAE, GCC and wider region and, supported by a world-class aviation infrastructure and
established seaport network, businesses continue to favour the emirate as the preferred
location to access emerging as well as established markets.
Trade currently accounts for around 28.4% of GDP and Dubai’s commitment to economic
diversification is leading by example with ongoing government-backed investment, a
competitive business regulatory environment and successful value-add free zone model major
catalysts for inbound investment and trade movement.
In the 2017 World Bank ‘Ease of Doing Business’ rankings, the Emirates scaled significantly to 26th place (versus 34 in 2016), an endorsement that is reinforced by the fact that 56% of global
multinationals choose to have a presence in Dubai.
What’s more, government support is evident at all levels – from the Dubai Future Accelerators (www.dubaifutureaccelerators.com) programme, with its focus on technological innovation, to mega manufacturing and logistics projects such as the US$8.17 billion under-development Dubai Wholesale City (including Dubai Industrial Park).
The Gateway to Africa
The Africa-China trade development corridor is an integral element in Dubai’s sustainable long-term success, with the continually growing East African maritime trade, for example, adding competitive trade flow value.
An increasing number of Chinese companies are also basing operations out of local free zones,
thus, opening up access to their goods and services in response to demand from Africa, and
benefiting from Dubai’s solid logistics infrastructure.
According to Dubai Chamber, non-oil trade between Dubai and Africa grew by over 700% over
the last decade, valued at around US$24 billion. This is driving unparalleled opportunity buoyed by the rapid growth of at least 10 sub-Saharan Africa economies, UAE bilateral investment agreements with nine states and via Emirates as the largest carrier servicing the region.
Dubai Chamber already has representative offices across some of the largest or fastest growing economies in Africa - Ghana, Nigeria, Uganda, Angola, Mozambique and Kenya.
The New Silk Route
Chinese presence in the UAE is also growing, with over 4,200 registered companies and 356 trade agencies. Already the UAE’s largest trade partner, with bilateral trade forecast to rise to US$80 billion in the next two years,the UAE’s open visa policy for China has boosted business opportunities even further, with Alibaba Cloud choosing to expand into the Middle East from Dubai post the recent launch of a new regional data centre. Dubai will also play a vital role in China’s ‘One Road, One Belt’ initiative – and maritime belt programme – following the announcement of a joint US$10 billion fund with the UAE.
Also, in the last five years, all four-major state-owned Chinese banks have established UAE operations at the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).
And India, the UAE’s second-largest trade partner in 2016, with US$25.6 billion in non-oil bilateral trade, is also eyeing new trade opportunities following the signing of 14 strategic agreements in late 2016.
Open for Business
There are multiple ways investors can access the wider Middle East and African markets via Dubai, which is at the heart of a region with an estimated population growth of 80% within the next four decades.
This can be achieved by relocating your operations to the emirate, using it as a start-up base, by establishing partnerships or forming agency or franchise agreements – a course of action particularly successful for the hospitality, F&B and retail sectors.
Seeking out the right partner or agent is vital. Enquiries can be made through the commercial sector of the relevant embassy/consulate in Dubai (www.dubaifaqs.com) or by attending one of the emirate’s many highly productive trade shows. Today, the top names in trade events operate out of the emirate and stage some of the globe’s biggest shows at the Dubai World Trade Centre (www.dwtc.ae) and at strategic venues across the city.
These shows are an economic melting pot and highly fertile ground for business deals, with $5.7bn of deals done at Dubai World Trade Centre events in 2015. For many of the businesses now represented full time in the emirate, trade shows were the critical entry point.
Re-Exporting to the World
Dubai’s trading advantage is its powerful reputation as a re-export and trans-shipment solution, largely via Jebel Ali Port (www.jafza.ae). From Dubai, exporters can reach the wider Middle East, Africa and South Asia.
Jebel Ali offers unparalleled sea connectivity with over 90 weekly services to more than 140 ports of call. It also has intermodal connectivity with sea, land and air and the benefit of the enormous JAFZA logistics park - home to more than 7,300 companies. The port is regionally connected through the main UAE/GCC road network. It takes only two-three days by road to reach anywhere in the GCC.
Jebel Ali also has the world’s first dedicated sea – air customs bonded corridor in association with Dubai South, the world’s shortest transit, with just 20kms between the seaport and Al Maktoum International Airport, enabling it to connect a sea-air box within 45 minutes of discharge or four hours from sea-to-air. Air cargo integrators abound in the emirate, with around 160 airlines operating from Dubai. Rail will soon be added to the offering, with Etihad Rail planning a depot within Jebel Ali. Eventually, this port will be connected to the rest of the GCC via rail, further extending the already unprecedented supply chain reach.
Dubai Customs offers a range of e-services to advise on and ease the export and re-export process. (www.dubaicustoms.gov.ae)