The volume of non-oil foreign trade in the UAE increased by 25% during the first four months of 2011 compared with 2010.
According to a UAE Federal Customs Authority report published August 15th, the volume of foreign trade excluding oil grew to $81 billion, an increase of $16.3 billion compared with the same period in 2010.
The report listed India, China, the United States, Germany, Japan, South Korea, Italy, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom and Switzerland, respectively, as the top-ranked countries that the UAE imported from in the month of April.
The report also listed India, Canada, Switzerland, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iran, Turkey, Qatar and Oman as the top-ranked markets for UAE's non-oil exports, consuming 80% of all exports.
Hazem Ali, a financial analyst, told Al-Shorfa that the growth rate of UAE's non-oil foreign trade represents a positive step for the national economy and confirms the increasing competitiveness of UAE's products in global markets.
The non-oil sectors make up about 71% of the UAE's GDP, reflecting the success of the country's economic strategy that aims to expand into new sectors such as alternative energy, nuclear energy, technology, tourism and industry.
"Based on the numbers, the UAE has become a center for the movement of goods in international trade between regions of production and regions of consumption because of its excellence in re-export trade. The UAE, as reported by international organizations, is one of the five least expensive countries in terms of export procedures," Ali said.
Although trade activity declined because of the global recession, the return of growth in non-oil foreign trade between the UAE and the world is a sign of economic recovery, especially in China, India, and the Arab Gulf states.
Diaa Abdel-Al, a financial journalist, said the growth in foreign trade reflects the relationship between the UAE economy and the outside world, both in terms of exports and imports.
"The more open a national economy is, the more it will be affected by global changes, and the UAE is vulnerable to the global financial crisis because its economy is open to the outside world. The UAE has strong infrastructure, high revenues from oil, a distinguished geographic location, strong economic relations internationally, and a sophisticated banking system," he said.
The World Trade Organization's recent annual report revealed a diversity in petroleum and non-petroleum exports in the UAE and in its export infrastructure.
According to the report, the UAE ranked 19th on a list of the world's largest exporters in 2010 and 25th among the largest importers. The UAE is the only Arab country on the list of the world's 30 largest markets in 2010.
Ruba Abdul Hamid, an economist, said the UAE increased the volume of imports to meet the requirements of economic development and to promote rapid growth in various economic sectors. She said the UAE oil sector has been able to maintain a strong position in international trade.
"All this is part of the policy of interacting with the international business environment which benefits the entire UAE economy," she said.