x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Trade ties to protect UAE economy from turmoil

Trade links with global markets are expected to help shield the UAE from disruptions caused by unrest in the Middle East and North Africa, says the Minister of Foreign Trade.

The UAE's deep trade links with global markets are expected to help shield it from any disruptions caused by unrest in the Middle East and North Africa, says the Minister of Foreign Trade.

"The UAE is a logistics and trade hub not exclusive to the Middle East, and this is a strong establishment and maintains its connectivity," said Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi on the sidelines of the Annual Investment Meeting in Dubai yesterday.

Trade and investment flows in some regional economies have been hit by disturbances from recent turmoil.

But current trade had risen by 20 per cent last month compared with April last year, Sheikha Lubna said.

India and China account for the largest portion of trade with the UAE, with both of those Asian economies forecast to grow by at least 8 per cent this year.

In contrast, the UAE's trade links with the Middle East are relatively undeveloped.

Increasing emerging market appetite for hydrocarbons has helped to boost the country's economic prospects this year.

Sultan al Mansouri, the Minister of Economy, told Bloomberg News he was optimistic the country would grow by up to 3.5 per cent this year, mainly because of oil income.

The GCC was likely to benefit from a shift in trade flows from slower-growing economic blocs in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, such as the EU, to faster-emerging economies, said a report by the Economist Intelligence Unit released on Monday.

The unit expects China to push ahead of India to become the region's biggest trading partner by 2020.

Dubai, the region's main trading centre, is forecasting an increase of between 20 and 30 per cent in foreign direct investment this year, said Fahad al Gergawi, the chief executive of Dubai FDI, which is the investment arm of the Department of Economic Development.

"India and China are currently Dubai's top two trading partners," Mr al Gergawi said.

"While India, culturally and historically, is Dubai's closest neighbour, we are seeing increased tourism and investment from China."

tarnold@thenational.ae