Dubai’s rise in global trade and the new face of globalisation

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H E Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair Chairman Dubai Chambers X
H E Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair Chairman Dubai Chambers X

By: His Excellency Abdul Aziz Abdulla Al Ghurair, Chairman of Dubai Chambers

Over the past few decades, globalisation has transformed economies and made our world more interconnected than ever before. Here, His Excellency Abdul Aziz Abdulla Al Ghurair, Chairman of Dubai Chambers, reflects on the state of globalisation in 2023 and explores the role of Dubai as a global gateway for trade.

For a time, globalisation felt like an unstoppable force. Fuelled by advances in technology and the increased mobility of goods and labour, our economies grew closer, and our societies became more connected.

Today, the effects of the pandemic period, ongoing geopolitical issues, and persistent inflation are all making their mark on our global economic system. It is clear that the face of globalisation is changing, resulting in a shift towards ‘deglobalisation’ and the formation of new regionalised economic blocs.

The impact of ‘nearshoring’ and ‘friend shoring’

In response to increased volatility in our global markets, nations have begun to look inward and prioritise bilateral trade agreements – most often with neighbouring or nearby countries that share similar values or participate in the same trade pacts. These practices, referred to as ‘friend shoring’ and ‘nearshoring,’ have been on the rise in our increasingly fragmented world.

On the face of it, this trend could be seen as a step backwards. Aren’t we stronger as a global community? Shouldn’t we form ties with as many economies as possible? Nations which favour friend shoring would argue that it can add greater resilience to supply chains, increase economic opportunity, and lower risk.

However, given that global trade volumes are growing – albeit at a moderate pace – Dubai’s economy can continue to benefit from the new face of globalisation by leveraging its location at the crossroads of Asia, Europe, and Africa, as well as capitalising on the strong growth in foreign investments in the emirate.

Embracing globalisation helped to establish Dubai as a leading global hub for trade and commerce in just a few decades. Today, the emirate is set to further strengthen its international ties as part of the drive to double the size of its economy over the next 10 years.

Expanding Dubai’s global reach 

Earlier this year, the Dubai Government launched the Dubai Economic Agenda (D33), which aims to double the size of the emirate’s economy by 2033 through 100 transformational projects.

These projects will advance Dubai’s plans for green and sustainable manufacturing, add 400 cities to Dubai’s foreign trade map, open economic corridors with Africa, Latin America, and Southeast Asia – and much more besides. The landmark roadmap aims to promote export growth and sustainable economic expansion, as well as establish Dubai as one of the world’s top three global cities, top five leading logistic hubs, and top four global financial centres.

One way to ensure Dubai’s position as a worldwide gateway for business and trade is by pursuing continued global expansion.

In 2022, the Dubai government launched ‘Dubai Global.’ Spearheaded by Dubai International Chamber – one of the three chambers operating under the umbrella of Dubai Chambers – the initiative is designed to support the emirate’s long-term economic goals and aims to establish a powerful network of 50 integrated representative offices in five continents by the end of the decade.

Currently, we operate 25 international offices in Asia, Latin America, Africa, Europe, and the Middle East – 10 of which opened this year. Through this network, we are accelerating towards the D33 targets of increasing Dubai’s FDI to over AED 650 billion over the coming 10 years and boosting foreign trade in goods and services to AED 25.6 trillion, while strengthening bilateral trade and supporting the international growth of Dubai companies.

Next month, Dubai Chambers will host the Dubai Business Forum, which will gather key public and private stakeholders from across the globe for a transformational two-day programme of networking and dealmaking. The event creates a perfect opportunity for the Dubai business community to connect with international organisations from near and far, supporting the emirate’s regional and global ambitions.

In the years to come, our global economy will continue to shift and restructure itself in response to market volatility. But by remaining agile and open to opportunities on all fronts, Dubai will continue to lead the world as a hub for innovation, international trade, and tech-driven enterprise.

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