Affirming its popularity with global investors, the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry recorded a substantial growth in its membership base in the first half of 2014.
Between January and June, a total of 8,700 new companies joined Dubai Chamber, registering a 24.3% increase on the same period in 2013 when 7,000 new members joined. This increased the total number of Dubai Chamber members to over 160,000 by the end of June thus strengthening its position as one of the largest chambers of commerce in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, stated a recent report on the Chamber’s half year activities.
Continuing with its global expansion in promising markets of the world, Dubai Chamber opened its third international representative office in the city of Erbil in Kurdistan and is all set to open two new offices in Ghana and Mozambique in the near future as part of its strategy to open around 20 representative offices in key emerging markets around the world.
H.E. Hamad Buamim, President and CEO, Dubai Chamber, said, “The Chamber members’ half-yearly exports and re-exports figure is a record number as it reflects the desire of foreign companies to set up base in Dubai and expand their global business activities through the emirate.” “It is also an indicator of the emirate’s rising profile as a prominent international destination for trade and finance which has further fuelled the global investors’ appetite to invest in Dubai’s lucrative economic sectors which are led by trade, logistics, tourism and finance,” added H.E. Buamim. “On its part, the Chamber is supporting Dubai businesses to reach out to the promising markets of the world while enhancing their competitiveness and business expansion in the overseas business arena,” concluded H.E. Buamim.
He further stressed, “Dubai Chamber’s strategy of smart trade is in line with the emirate’s efforts to attract more foreign companies and investors to Dubai, especially those from the African continent looking for investment opportunities with the world through the emirate.”
In line with Dubai Government’s initiative to transform Dubai into a Smart City, the Chamber signed MoUs with UAE Chambers to join its online platform, alibaba.com to promote e-commerce in the country.
Steady growth in the export sector
Performing consistently well during the past years, the first half of 2014 witnessed Dubai’s trade sector continue its steady growth thus sending a strong signal and confidence in the emirate’s business community. Dubai Chamber’s half year data shows that its members’ exports and re-exports between January and June 2014 were worth Dhs149bn registering a 2.8% growth compared to Dhs145bn during the same period in 2013. Meanwhile, the monthly total of June 2014 was the highest of the period, reaching Dhs27.1bn, while January was the lowest with a value of Dhs21.8bn.
During the same period, Dubai Chamber issued a total of 445,000 certificates of origin (COs), compared to 418,000 COs issued in the first half of 2013, equal to a 6.3% increase while the number of certificates of origin issued in June totalled 81,000 in one single month while the minimum number of COs issued in January was 65,000.
Visiting delegations and overseas participation
Dubai Chamber’s half year figures also show that during this time the organisation received 102 international delegations, comprised of 572 delegates, including government officials and businessmen, showing a 13.7% growth in the number of visiting delegates compared to the same period in 2013.
The high level delegation received by the Chamber included the Presidents of Senegal and Cyprus in addition to the Prime Minister of Uganda. At the same time, Dubai Chamber participated in 41 events around the world, in 31 cities from 25 countries, including the US, UK, France, Russia, Poland, Malta, Gabon, Spain, Tunisia and others, with the objective of promoting Dubai as an international business hub and profitable destination for foreign investment.
Studying draft laws
Continuing its efforts to support business growth, Dubai Chamber studied, reviewed and followed up on 11 federal legislations. These include Draft federal law on Financial Restructuring and Bankruptcy; Draft federal law amending Federal Law No. (4/2004) regarding Criminalization of Money Laundering; Draft federal law on the establishment of Federal Authority Against Corruption; Draft law on regulating petroleum products; Draft federal law amending some provisions of Federal Law No. (23/1999) concerning exploitation, protection and development of Living Aquatic Resources Law.
These also include Draft federal law on Arbitration; Draft federal law regulating partnership between public and private sectors in the emirate of Dubai; Draft law concerning Civil Establishments in the emirate of Dubai; Draft by-law amending the by-law of Federal Law No. (9/2011) pertaining to land transport; Insurance Brokers System (Resolutions No: 15/2013 and 58/203) and Ministerial draft decision on Terms and Conditions for Licensing of General Stores in UAE.
Excellence in customer service
Dubai Chamber has served 160,000 customers with a minimum waiting time of 15 minutes for 62% customers while the processing time took only 6 minutes for 74.2% customers during the first half of 2014. The Chamber is working currently to transform its services into smart services.
94 ATA Carnets issued during H1 2014
Dubai Chamber issued 94 ATA Carnets between January and June 2014, compared to 54 ATA Carnets issued during H1 2013 thus registering a growth rate of 74.1%. The upwards trend clearly reflects the success of the temporary admission of goods system, which was launched in the UAE in April 2011. ATA Carnet is also helping to enhance Dubai’s position as a leading international destination for exhibitions and conferences.
Settling trade disputes and supporting business
In light of the rising importance of settling commercial disputes amicably in the emirate, Dubai Chamber received a total of 287 arbitration and mediation cases in the first half of the year. The organisation’s initiative Dubai International Arbitration Centre (DIAC), received 90 arbitration cases, while Dubai Chamber’s Legal Services department received 197 mediation cases during the same period.
The President and CEO of Dubai Chamber further added, “The emirate’s various economic sectors’ excellent performance reflects on the wise vision of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice-President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, who has launched a number of initiatives including Dubai World Capital of Islamic Economy, and Smart Government which clearly show the emirate’s commitment to create a conducive global business environment.”
All economic indicators for Dubai point at its sustainable and record growth in the area of trade and tourism, especially with Dubai’s vision of attracting 20 million visitors by the year 2020, as well as the banking and logistics sectors which are also performing extremely well while the real estate sector is witnessing a remarkable recovery as the emirate’s GDP is expected to grow by 5% during the year, said H.E. Buamim.
In the first half of the year, Dubai Chamber launched the Dubai Association Centre (DAC) in collaboration with the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) and Dubai World Trade Centre (DTWC). The idea behind DAC is to establish a platform in Dubai for international professional and business associations to meet, exchange knowledge and network and to cater to the region and beyond from the emirate.
Organising trade missions
In the first half of this year, Dubai Chamber organised trade missions to Hamburg for the 4th Dubai Hamburg Business Forum, to Kurdistan, and retail and franchising trade mission to Azerbaijan and ASAE International Convention in Washington DC to promote the Dubai Association Centre (DAC) to international associations by organising a series of events on the side-lines of the American Society of Association Executives Global Symposium. Each mission included more than 20 businessmen from various industry sectors.
Also, Dubai Chamber participated in eight major international events including the SMM Istanbul, Trade Mission to Ethiopia led by UAE Minister of Economy, Business Mission to Warsaw and Brussels – EU-Africa Business Forum, Africa Global Business Forum Organising Committee Meeting in UK, St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) in Russia, Business Mission to Malta, ICC WCF Executive Committee Meeting in Uganda, and Business Mission to Sfax Chamber in Tunisia.
Major successful events hosted
Playing a broader role to meet increasing demands for premium trade finance information and up-to-date policy and market intelligence by the emirate’s business community, Dubai Chamber organised and hosted the four-day long ICC Banking Commission meeting in partnership with the International Chamber of Commerce in April.
The gathering turned out to be the largest in the history of the ICC Banking Commission meetings with the participation of 427 delegates from 60 countries. Also, earlier in the year, the Chamber hosted the ICC Regional Banking Commission Supply Chain Technology Forum which was attended by over 50 delegates as the meeting focused on the latest trends and next generation technology in trade finance.
Eighth cycle of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Business Award
After seven successful cycles of honouring exceptional institutional performance in the UAE, the Dubai Chamber organised an International Conference to announce the eighth cycle of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Business Award which has expanded its scope to reach out to GCC companies to celebrate their success in leading the way to establish new business excellence standards in the region.
To date, the award has honoured 109 companies out of the 1,100 participating companies of different types and sizes coming from various economic sectors in the country. Preparations are now underway for hosting the prestigious award ceremony early next year.
Meanwhile, Dubai Chamber initiative of Tejar Dubai, an entrepreneurship development programme that aims to help young Emiratis turn their business ideas into realities, saw one of the participants setting up her own nursery and early learning centre with 10 other projects lined up by other participants.
In the first half of 2014, Dubai Chamber won the Most Popular Chamber Portal Award at the conclusion of the two-day SME World Summit in Dubai which was attended by over 2,500 delegates from the GCC as the award was based on votes from entrepreneurs who ranked Business Chambers in the UAE, across the following parameters: Ease of Understanding, Ease of Navigation, Overall Design, Content Accuracy and Current Business Relevance.
Leading CSR in the region
Celebrating the achievements of its Sustainability Network members for 2013 earlier in the year, Dubai Chamber’s Centre for Responsible Business which marked its 10th anniversary this year launched the task groups for 2014. The Network’s membership reached 55 national and international companies which are collaborating to address sustainability challenges and promoting responsible business practices in the UAE.
With 20 new companies coming on board last year, the Network’s membership has jumped by 60 as 10 Task Groups were launched that examined key areas of opportunity, like Sustainable Energy, Supply Chains, Diversity, Social Enterprise, Health and Safety and Sustainability for SMEs.