Dubai Airport Freezone Authority contribution to Dubai’s foreign trade jumps to AED 164 billion

posted on 16th March 2020 by Eddie Saunders
Dubai Airport Freezone Authority contribution to Dubai's foreign trade jumps to AED 164 billion

Dubai Airport Freezone Authority (DAFZA) played a key role in boosting Dubai’s economic growth, with a 12% contribution to the emirate’s foreign trade in 2019, compared to 11.2% in 2018, out of a total trade value of AED 1.37 trillion recorded last year. This came as a direct result of the incentives and business facilitation services provided by DAFZA that have enhanced the attractiveness of the free zone to foreign investors.

DAFZA’s foreign trade exceeded AED164 billion in 2019, compared to AED146 billion in 2018, with a 12.6% growth. This was driven by more than 15.8% growth in imports worth AED 72.4 billion. There was AED 91.8 billion in total exports and re-exports with 10.2% growth, allowing DAFZA to achieve an AED 19.4 billion trade surplus in 2019. 

India was DAFZA’s biggest trade partner in 2019 with 18.3% valued at AED 30 billion, followed by China with 17.3% at AED 28.4 billion. Switzerland was third with 16.3% at AED 26.8 billion. In terms of imports, India ranked first with 40.7% at AED 29.4 billion, followed by China with 39.2% at AED 28.4 billion. Switzerland ranked first in exports and re-exports and accounted for 27.4% at AED 25.1 billion, followed by Iraq with 12.3% valued at AED 11.3 billion. 

In terms of goods, machinery and electrical and electronics equipment ranked first with 55% of the total foreign trade in 2019, with a value of AED 37.4 billion for imports and AED 53 billion for exports and re-exports. This was an increase of 14.3% or AED 11.3 billion in DAFZA’s total trade. This was followed by precious stones and metals with 38% of the total import value at AED 29.6 billion and AED 32 billion in terms of exports and re-exports. This meant an increase of 10.4% worth AED 5.8 billion. Both sectors represent 92.6% of DAFZA’s total trade. 

DAFZA witnessed an impressive growth in operations of its hosted multinational companies, cementing its position as an attractive destination for companies, looking to benefit from DAFZA’s portfolio of exceptional services, incentives and business facilities. In 2019, DAFZA’s total revenues of multinational companies increased by 36.6% compared to the same period in 2018. The total space occupied by multinational companies increased by more than 135%.  

Global connectivity

His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of DAFZA highlighted that DAFZA’s foreign trade was valued at more than 164 billion AED. This was a result of DAFZA’s leading position as a hub for international companies and investors, connecting key commercial hubs worldwide. The results show its vital role in accelerating access to global and regional markets, including Dubai’s market. He added that this is positively reflected in Dubai’s economy as DAFZA has been actively contributing to its sustainable growth over the past twenty years.

His Highness explain that DAFZA’s integrated system is one of the main reasons for the great achievements accomplished so far. It has enhanced Dubai’s reputation as an attractive destination for global investors. DAFZA will continue working in line with these frameworks in order to build a flourishing future that is based on technology and innovation, concentrating on achieving its goals which include attracting more international investment he added. 

H.E. Dr. Mohammed Al Zarooni, Director General of DAFZA, said: “DAFZA is one of the most attractive destinations for global companies of all sizes and sectors looking to work within a safe and flexible investment environment that can keep pace with different economic trends and fluctuations. DAFZA succeeded due to its well-designed plans that ensure ease of business and better-controlled operations that match the requirements of various business sectors,” he added. 

“We will continue with our approach to ensure our leading global position worldwide and set an example in leading operations, innovation, services, incentives and facilities. We utilize our national competencies to ensure DAFZA’s role in supporting Dubai’s economy through attracting foreign direct investments,” he added.  

TNA, a leading global supplier of integrated food processing and packaging solutions, has opened its new regional headquarters in DAFZA. The new facility will allow TNA MENA to offer a range of after-market services to customers in the region, including enhanced technical support, a new training and demo centre and easier access to spare parts.

Michelin, the world leader in tyre design, manufacturing and distribution, has also opened its regional headquarters in the free zone to manage its operations in Africa, India and the Middle East. Managing 87 offices across the regions, the HQ will allow the leading international tyre company to further develop and expand its regional operations. The opening was a result of the confidence of one of the largest international companies in the services provided by the free zone that best fit its business model.