Today, the report, “Future of Trade: New opportunities in high-growth corridors” was released by Standard Chartered. The report predicts that global trade will reach AED 120 trillion by 2030, with growth upwards of 5%. Leading this growth is the UAE, as its exports are projected to hit nearly 2 trillion AED by 2030, with an annual growth rate of 5.5%.

Additionally, the research shows that trade corridors based in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East are expected to outpace the global trade growth rate by almost four percentage points, propelling the combined trade volume in these regions to an astounding AED 53 trillion, accounting for 44% of global trade by 2030.

UAE: corridors to watch

India is set to remain the UAE’s largest export destination, while exports to Turkiye, Vietnam and Singapore are among the fastest growing.

CorridorExports (AED 2030 annual growth)Imports (AED 2030 annual growth)
Turkiye55 billion (10%)29.4 billion (8.4%)
India265 billion (9.0%)220.5 billion (8.2%)
Vietnam2.2 billion (7.2%)33 billion (7.4%)
Singapore73.5 billion (6.3%)33 billion (6.4%)
Mainland China99 billion (4.9%)202 billion (4.8%)

UAE: export sectors to watch

Driven by the government’s commitment to facilitating cross-border trade, the UAE is undergoing substantial capacity expansions in critical industries. Notably, the country has achieved an impressive export diversity ratio of 0.54%, surpassing the global average. (Export and import diversities are measured by an index; lower number indicates high diversity; global average for export diversity is 0.68 and for imports is 0.41). This is due to the country’s efforts in diversifying exports into non-oil sectors through relaxing foreign ownership rules and offering attractive incentives. 

SectorShare of exports (2030)CAGR 2021-2030
Metals and minerals73%6.3%
Plastics and rubbers3%5.4%

Global overview: high-growth corridors in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East

CorridorCAGR (2021-2030)Size (AED 2030)
Intra – ASEAN8.7%2.94 trillion
South Asia – ASEAN8.6%1.1 trillion
South Asia – Africa8.2%735 billion
South Asia – Middle East7.0%734 billion
East Asia – ASEAN6.3%7.7 trillion
Intra – East Asia3.4%8 trillion

Rola Abu Manneh, Chief Executive officer, Standard Chartered UAE, said, “The UAE’s success in diversifying its exports along with the development of new trade corridors positions the country favourably for sustained growth and reinforces its economic resilience. This achievement is a direct result of the government’s dedicated efforts to facilitating cross-border trade.”

About the Future of Trade 2030

This report focuses on global trade over the next ten years, and highlights the corridors in Asia, Africa and the Middle East (as well as 13 other key markets) that are posed for high growth. 

105 C-level and senior leaders were interviewed as part of the survey to understand trade growth in these markets to understand how recent market disruptions have altered business practices.