China maintained its position as Dubai’s largest trading partner in H1 2020 with AED66.4 billion ($18.08 billion) worth of trade, Dubai Customs has revealed.

Compared to April, the emirate's external trade showed considerable growth in May and June, a period in which widespread lockdowns were enforced across the globe to combat the pandemic.

India came in second with 38.5 billion dirhams, followed by the USA in third place with 31.7 billion dirhams, and Switzerland with 24.3 billion dirhams.

Saudi Arabia continued to be Dubai’s largest Gulf and Arab trade partner and its fifth largest global trade partner with AED24.1 billion worth of trade, Dubai Customs said.

Airborne trade accounted for 250 billion dirhams, accounting for 45 percent of total trade. Sea trade reached 212 billion dirhams (39%), while land trade touched 89 billion dirhams (16%).


According to Dubai Customs, gold, diamonds and jewellery topped the list of commodities in Dubai's H1 2020 external trade at 140 billion dirhams, followed by telecoms at 70 billion dirhams, and motors in the third place, with 25.6 billion dirhams. Petroleum oils came fourth in the list with 21 billion dirhams followed by computers with 19 billion dirhams.


Foodstuff trade grew 15 percent to 9.1 million tonnes compared to the first half of 2019 with a value of 32 billion dirhams. Trade in medical supplies and medicines grew 19 percent to 12.4 billion dirhams compared to H1 2019.

The pandemic has further accelerated the shift to online shopping that has been gathering pace for many years. Dubai dispatched 4.3 million e-commerce parcels in H1 2020, with transactions up 150 percent compared to the same period last year.

This growth in parcels deliveries was made possible by Dubai’s digital investment and infrastructure that has enabled trade in this sector to flourish with minimal disruption, Dubai Customs said.

(Reporting by Seban Scaria; editing by Daniel Luiz) 

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