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Dubai Chamber membership tops 231,000 in 2018 amid international push
(29 January 2019)


A total of 14,476 companies joined Dubai Chamber in 2018, bringing total membership to over 231,000 and cementing the non-profit public organisation’s position as one of the world’s largest membership-based chambers of commerce.

Dubai Chamber’s total membership grew 6.5% year-over-year in 2018, and 36.7% over the 2014-2018 period, highlighting Dubai's attractiveness as a global trade and investment hub.

Trade performance

Exports and re-exports of Dubai Chamber members grew steadily in 2018, reaching a combined value of AED 254 billion as the scope of export markets widened to an average of 173 destinations per month during the year. The value of member exports and re-exports exceeded AED 1.38 trillion over the past five years (2014-2018), reflecting the growing role of Dubai Chamber in facilitating and diversifying Dubai’s non-oil trade with other markets around the world. 

Trade documentation 

Dubai Chamber issued 803,000 certificates of origin in 2018, bringing the total number of certificates issued over the 2014-2018 period to 4.42 million. A total of 5,790 ATA Carnets worth AED 3.2 billion were issued and received by the Chamber in 2018. More than 24,000 ATA Carnets valued at over AED 19 billion were issued and received during between 2014 and 2018, reflecting the positive impact of the ATA Carnet system managed by Dubai Chamber in cooperation with Dubai Customs which facilitates the temporary entry of imports to Dubai that are often used for trade fairs, exhibitions and conferences.

International outreach

In 2018, Dubai Chamber stepped up its international outreach efforts by promoting Dubai at 80 overseas events, and organising trade missions to 34 countries, including Argentina, Brazil, Belgium, China, Estonia, Latvia, Colombia, Azerbaijan, US, Saudi Arabia, France, Gambia, Ethiopia, Jordan, Kenya, Nigeria, Panama, and Russia.

In 2018, Dubai Chamber hosted 1,852 delegations from 43 countries, marking an 83% increase compared to the 1,013 visiting delegations accounted for in 2017. The number of delegates hosted surged 71% year-over-year to 3,506. 

International expansion

International expansion was a top priority in 2018 as Dubai Chamber opened new representative offices in Panama and India as part of its efforts to explore promising markets around the world and identify business opportunities that offer the most potential for its members. Plans are underway to open an additional office in Argentina in the near future as the Chamber strengthens its focus within Latin America.

Dubai Chamber’s international offices held 1,552 meetings with companies and investors that were keen to explore business opportunities in Dubai in 2018, marking a growth rate of 91% compared to the previous year. 

Business forums and events

Meanwhile, Dubai Chamber organised and supported 34 events and business forums in 2018 which were attended by 5,498 participants. Among the most high-profile events were the 2nd Global Business Forum Latin America, 4th Global Islamic Economy Summit, 1st UAE-Caribbean Cooperation Forum, UAE-Greece Business Forum, UAE-Korea Business Forum, and the UAE-Moldova Business Forum.

The Global Business Forum Latin America 2018 was attended by 1,300 participants from 40 countries around the world. A total of 200 bilateral business meetings were held on the sidelines of the forum, while four MoUs were signed with the aim of enhancing economic cooperation.

Dubai Chamber and the Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre organised the 4th Global Islamic Economy Summit in Dubai, the world’s largest event dedicated to all aspects of Islamic economy, in cooperation with Thomson Reuters as a strategic partner. More than 3,000 participants attended the summit, including heads of state, ministers, decision-makers, business leaders, experts and specialists from around the world.

Key achievements and activities

H.E. Hamad Buamim, President & CEO of Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, described 2018 as a pivotal year for the Chamber marked by membership growth, international expansion, new initiatives, achievements and milestones which supported Dubai’s economic diversification strategy and enhanced the competitiveness of the emirate’s private sector.

Dubai’s position in the global arena has strengthened considerably over the last year, H.E. Buamim explained, as reflected in the growing number of international events that are being held in the emirate, adding that Dubai Chamber focuses its efforts on attracting international events such as The Retail Summit 2019 and the World Chambers Congress 2021. Global interest in the Dubai market continues to grow, said H.E. Buamim, with evidence of this trend seen in the rising number of international delegations hosted by Dubai Chamber year after year. 

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