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In 2023, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) saw its non-oil trade surge to a new high of 3.5 trillion dirhams ($952.93 billion), according to Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, who shared the news on X this Sunday.

The country witnessed a 12.6% increase in its non-oil goods trade compared to the previous year, with the export of goods and services breaking the 1 trillion dirham mark for the first time, as stated by Thani Al Zeyoudi, the Minister of Foreign Trade, in a separate update on social media.

Beginning in 2021, the UAE, traditionally known for its oil exports, embarked on a series of Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreements (CEPAs) to strengthen its trade, investment, and cooperative endeavours, aiming to broaden its economic base and income sources.

In an interview with Reuters, Zeyoudi mentioned that the UAE has remained unaffected by the disruptions in Red Sea shipping routes due to Houthi attacks. He expressed confidence in the country’s stability and adaptability to global and regional challenges, saying, “We think our country will not be disturbed with that… we are in a good position, and it’s about how we are resilient, and the adaptability of the system here to face the challenges facing the world and the region.”

The initial half of 2023 saw the non-oil sector of the UAE outshine the overall GDP growth, with a nearly 6% increase, compared to the general growth rate of 3.7%.

Zeyoudi also highlighted the significant role of CEPAs in shaping the UAE’s foreign trade in the future during his conversation with Reuters. He noted that trade with India, the UAE’s inaugural CEPA partner, saw a growth of about 4% last year, while trade with Turkey more than doubled, marking the quickest expansion among the UAE’s top ten trading partners.

The UAE has also seen growth in its services sector, particularly in travel and tourism, information and communication technology, financial services, and professional services. Key non-oil exports from the UAE include gold, aluminium, jewellery, copper wire, and ethylene polymers.

Zeyoudi revealed in his social media post that the nation’s non-oil commodity exports experienced a 16.7% growth last year, reaching 441 billion dirhams and making up 17.1% of the foreign trade, an increase from 14.1% in 2019.