Dubai – 11 July 2020: Director General of Dubai Customs, HE Ahmed Mahboob Musabih said Dubai will play a pivotal role in developing and progressing the e-commerce sector in the coming few years, and that the chances are very good for the UAE to become a central hub for e-commerce, especially for African, Gulf and South American markets.
Musabih, in the second Dubai Customs’ Consultative Council meeting 2020, which he chaired and was held online, said that Dubai has been recently ranked first as the fastest growing e-commerce market in the Middle East and North Africa. This goes down, he said, to a number of factors including the continuous digital development and adoption, the growing number of customers and the world-class infrastructure Dubai has.
“Dubai Customs extends full support to help Dubai become a global e-commerce hub. With this in mind, Dubai Customs has officially launched its blockchain based Cross Border e-Commerce platform to encourage e-commerce companies set their businesses in Dubai” he added.
The meeting was attended by a number of executive directors, directors of departments and heads and representatives of business groups in Dubai.
Director General of Dubai Customs confirmed that Dubai Customs works hand in hand with the private sector and this has resulted in a growing number of customs transactions in what has been a testing time.
Dubai Customs has completed more than 6 million customs transactions during the first 5 months in 2020, out of which 99.2% were completed online.
“I want you to be rest assured that Dubai Customs will work as hard as possible to support all business groups in Dubai following Dubai and the UAE vision of becoming the happiest place to work, live and do business. We are in the 9th place globally, according to the IMD competiveness report, which puts us ahead of countries like the USA, Germany and the UK” said Musabih.
The meeting discussed issues including the role of the stimulus package in supporting businesses and the impacts of covid-19. Attendees also discussed the challenges and opportunities in the post covid-10 era, especially e-commerce which is gaining more presence worldwide.
Musabih applauded the Dubai Food Security Dashboard as part of the wise vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai. It was launched by Sheikh Mansour bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai's Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management, and supports the efforts of the Dubai Food Security Committee in line with the UAE’s strategic direction for ensuring food security across the country. The dashboard, developed by a local government team, was supported by the innovative initiatives of Smart Dubai and the exceptional efforts of government agencies.
“We thank Dubai Government and Dubai Customs for their unlimited support, and we highly appreciated the government’s stimulus package imitative which included a refund of 1% of the customs duty imposed on imported goods sold locally in the UAE,” said Lakhi Ramchandani, Retail Business Group. “Goods imported between 5 March 2020 and 30 June 2020 that are liable to customs duty at the rate of 5% were eligible for the refund. This has stimulated the business and pushed companies forward, and we look forward to an extension to this timeline.”
Khalid Al Tayer, Member of Retail Sector Executive Committee highlighted the importance of e-commerce which, he said, is going to make 20-40% of trade in the coming few years. He said Dubai Customs e-commerce platform will contribute towards a bigger role for this sector.
Madhu Madathal, from Dubai Shipping Agents Association, talked about the challenges that faced the shipping sector during the pandemic and said the last period has shown the vitality of shipping in global trade. Lockdown in many countries posed a big challenge to shipping activity, he said.
Tawhid Abdulla, Chairman of Dubai Gold and Jewellery Group pointed out 80% -85% of the gold and jewellery trade activity in Dubai relies on re-export, which is done solely through airports. “This shows how big the challenge was for the gold sector in Dubai. There are 1,184 working and trading in precious metals, gems, jewellery, and diamonds industry, 6,992 investors and more than 19,000 people employed in the manufacturing sector” he said.
Prim Kumar, Corporate Advisor, Indian Business and Professional Council- Food Sector said there were adequate quantities of food during the pandemic, although sales were dampened by Covid-19 restrictions.