From around Dh1,089 billion in 2011, Dubai's total non-oil trade, including free zone commercial activity, swelled to a record high of Dh1,235 billion in 2012, maintaining its position as the main commercial and business centre in the oil-rich Gulf.
The increase was mainly a result of a 47 per cent surge in exports to a record Dh163 billion in 2012 while imports grew by 12 per cent to peak at Dh737 billion, indicating a steady recovery in the business in Dubai and the UAE as a whole. Re-exports also increased by five per cent to Dh334 billion.
"As Dubai is pushing ahead with plans to diversity its economy, trade remains one of the main pillars in the domestic economy," said Dubai Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
"With plans to turn Dubai into the world's Islamic economic capital getting under way, the role of trade gains pace as it will be a key factor in such a strategy, which takes into account the great potential in developing nations in the Islamic world."
Official data showed trade, excluding that of free zones, accounted for nearly 65 per cent of Dubai's commercial activity last year, standing at around Dh808 billion. Free zone commercial activity was estimated at Dh417 billion and that of customs warehouses in the emirate at Dh10 billion.
Trade through air transport stood at Dh628 billion while shipping trade it was estimated at Dh442 billion and land trade at Dh165 billion, according to Ahmed Butti Ahmed, executive chairman of Dubai's Ports, Customs and Free Zone Authority.
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