Keeping pace with the UAE’s strong economic growth, Dubai Customs cleared 14 million customs transactions during the first six months of this year, a 10% surge from the 12.7 million transactions registered in the same period last year. The UAE economy is poised to experience further growth and recovery over the second half of 2023, according to forecasts by international banks and organizations, like the World Bank that predicts the UAE's non-oil economy to grow by 4.8% this year.
Dubai Customs revealed that business registration service transactions went up 7%, recording 143,000 service requests. Customs declarations stood at 12.3 million transactions, accounting for 88% of the total number of customs transactions. The strong performance is a clear indication of the business sector’s mounting recovery and how Dubai has reinforced its stature as a leading global hub for trade, finance and logistics.
Commenting on the solid H1 performance in customs service transactions, Ahmed Mahboob Musabih, Director General of Dubai Customs and CEO of Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation, said: “Trade is among the key sectors that have led the growth of the local economy during last year and this year. The Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreements (CEPAs) the UAE is concluding with various countries of the world give a great impetus to trade exchanges and increase the value of non-oil foreign trade thanks to the top-notch facilities and benefits they bring to traders and businesses, strengthening the UAE’s position as a prime global trading hub. By leveraging smart services and projects, Dubai Customs is facilitating the automation of customs procedures, improving business operations, and boosting commercial returns, all of which are attracting more investments and businesses to the commercial sector. We have world-leading customs systems that enable us to process about 80,000 transactions per day. All of these efforts are aligned with the leadership's vision of enhancing the country's global standing and competitiveness.”
Stepping up its efforts in the fight against counterfeits to ensure protection of businesses’ intellectual property (IP) interests, Dubai Customs handled 194 cases of IP disputes during the first half of 2023, involving 10.7 million counterfeit items with a total value of AED 53.277 million. The government department also continued to organise recycling operations for counterfeit and IP-infringing goods, which saw the recycling of 176,000 items belonging to 65 global trademarks.
Besides this intellectual property enforcement role, Dubai Customs has carried out three awareness campaigns aimed at raising awareness about the dangers and negative impacts of counterfeit goods. These initiatives were attended by 91 participants and were presented at two community events, 11 events for schools and universities, and five events for customs administrations and centers. Furthermore, Dubai Customs organised three workshops in partnership with trademark owners. In addition, the department registered 91 trademarks and 86 commercial agencies.
Besides this vital intellectual property enforcement role, Dubai Customs has launched 28 IP awareness campaigns to educate the public on the risks and negative impacts of counterfeits. These initiatives brought together 1,237 participants and included 9 community events, and 11 activities targeting schools and universities. In coordination with customs departments and centers, the IPR department held a series of workshops in partnership with brand owners. The department registered 147 trademarks, 148 commercial agencies, as well as 4 knowledge assets pertaining to innovations by DC staff.
Dubai Customs also made 1,059 seizures and filed 908 customs cases, striving to play its vital role in securing and supporting the national economy by contributing effectively to an attractive investment environment and enhancing the country's position as a leading global business and trade hub.
The Customs authority announced the Green Customs initiative, which represents a model for joint international action to prevent illegal trade of environmentally sensitive goods, by building capacities of customs inspectors and personnel concerned with monitoring, licensing, and control of hazardous materials and waste, and endangered species of wild fauna and flora. The move is in line with the Year of Sustainability goals and the UAE’s hosting of the 28th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28) from November 30 to December 12 this year.
In line with its strategic plan, Dubai Customs is committed to promoting corporate social responsibility to be more comprehensive, with focus on social, health, environmental, charitable and voluntary activities that contribute to society wellbeing. The department has successfully targeted 131,134 beneficiaries during the first half of this year through 80 community and volunteering initiatives.
Dubai Customs’ training center conducted 1,285 training courses during the first half, including 1,136 online (self-learning) courses, and 149 in-class courses. The program helped train 4,618 employees with repetition, and 1,796 employees without repetition, through a total of 29,172 training hours. The training center focused on enrolling employees in specialized courses aimed at honing their technical and behavioral competencies, as well as their professional and leadership skills in customs areas.