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Dubai 2011 exports seen up 20pct, new tariffs unlikely

Conclusion of WTO Doha round may help businesses in 2011.

December 15, 2010 10:12 by

Dubai’s non-oil exports may grow 20 percent in 2011 as new doors to African markets open, and the government is not expected to impose any new tariffs on trade, two government officials said on Tuesday.

A rise in exports next year would aid help economic recovery and could reignite investment in the financial and infrastructure sectors.

Non-oil exports, the bulk of which is made up of re-exports, account for about 12 percent of the emirate’s non-oil trade.

“For 2011, it won’t be less than 2010. Growth of total exports will continue and we hope it will not be less than this year, which is 20 percent,” Saed al-Awadi, chief executive of the Dubai Export Development Corporation (EDC), told Reuters on the sidelines of an exporters forum.

Data from Dubai Customs showed the emirate’s direct exports increased 37 percent in the first nine months of 2010 compared with the same period last year, while re-exports were up 22 percent and imports 14 percent respectively.

Dubai accounts for about 80 percent of the United Arab Emirates’ non-oil trade. The IMF expects Dubai’s economy to grow by 0.5 percent this year, after shrinking 0.9 percent in 2009, thanks to a pick-up in its foreign trade.

Concerns about Dubai’s liabilities, estimated at around $115 billion, have eased since state-owned conglomerate Dubai World [DBWLD.UL] reached a deal in September to restructure almost $25 billion of debt.

Dubai’s key export destinations in 2010 were India, Switzerland, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Iran, Awadi said.

“These are very good markets, but aside them, we are looking at African markets such as South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana and Senegal.”

Asked whether the government planned new tariff regulations, Sami al-Qamzi, director general of Dubai’s Department of Economic Development, said: “I don’t think that Dubai is planning to impose any new tariffs. The guidelines from the executive council is clear not to increase any fees, any tariffs,” he told Reuters.

“It is important for us to reduce the costs to do business, and if there is an increase in some of the sales services, I think the government is keen to keep them minimal.”

The UAE does not impose a federal corporate income tax, but some emirates have issued their own decrees. In practice, taxes are only enforced on foreign oil companies and banks.

For a factbox on taxation systems in the Gulf Arab region, click on: [ID:nLDE67N05H]

The possible conclusion of the World Trade Organization’s Doha trade round in 2011 would help boost exports from Dubai, Awadi said.

The long-stalled trade talks, launched in the capital of the world’s largest liquefied natural gas exporter Qatar nine years ago, have been deadlocked since the height of the financial crisis in 2008. They are expected to be revived next summer.

“The Doha talks will be another step of doing business in the region,” Awadi said. “It will eventually beneficial.”

(Reporting by Martina Fuchs)

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