HE Ahmed Mahboob Musabih, Director General of Dubai Customs held a videoconferencing meeting with a Swiss delegation headed by HE Frank Eggmann, Swiss Consul General to Dubai to discuss means of enhancing mutual economic cooperation and trade between Dubai and Switzerland.
The two sides covered major matters including the stimulus packages launched by the Federal Government and Dubai Government to support the business activity and to mitigate the impact of the pandemic. They also talked about the measures taken by Dubai Customs to back the global supply chain and the business and trade groups in Dubai.
More than 30 representatives of Swiss companies were present in the meeting which was also attended by Dubai Customs executive directors and heads of departments.
In his speech, Musabih highlighted the solid relationships between Switzerland and the UAE in all fields, including trade, especially after the signing of the free trade agreement between the GCC countries and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA).
HE Musabih said the meeting is coordinated through Ertebaat initiative, which Dubai Customs launch to enhance ties with foreign diplomatic missions and businesses.
“Ertebaat is a transparent and solid platform that enable us foster our relationships with foreign business sectors and provide them with the best services and facilities. The UAE has been ranked first in the Arab world in the post-COVID economic recovery index, and this reflects how dynamic and resilient our national economy is,” said Musabih.
Musabih said Dubai Customs extended a refund of 20 per cent on the customs fees imposed on imported products sold locally in Dubai markets in response to the stimulus package launched by Dubai Government to support companies and the business sector in Dubai. The package seeks to enhance liquidity and reduce the impact of the current global economic situation.
The package also includes the cancellation of the Dhs50,000 bank guarantee or cash required to undertake customs clearance activity. Bank guarantee or cash paid by existing customs clearance companies will be refunded.
The stimulus package also includes cancellation of bank guarantees required to be submitted before resolution of customs-related grievances, cancellation of 25 percent down payment required for requesting instalment-based payment of government fees for obtaining and renewing licenses, and reducing customs fines by 80%.
HE Musabih expressed optimism about the future of the economic and trade sector in the UAE, with the UAE prepared to host major international events including EXPO 2020.
Musabih pointed out Dubai Customs is always developing its services through innovating new systems to automate and facilitate customs procedures further.
The Government Department has completed 7.2m transactions in the first half of 2020 against a backdrop of global economic slowdown due to the spread of Covid-19.
Dubai external trade with Switzerland grew 75% between 2010 and 2019 to make Dh60b in 2019 compared to Dh34b in 2010. In the first half of 2020, mutual trade between Switzerland and Dubai amounted to Dh24.3b, with imports making Dh4.4b, and exports and re-exports making Dh20b. major commodities include diamonds, Pharmaceuticals, watches, gold and jewellery.
HE Frank Eggmann thanked Dubai Customs for their noticeable efforts in supporting businesses in the face of the pandemic.
“Dubai is the perfect business hub in the region, and we have more than 200 Swiss companies operating in Dubai. The attractive investment atmosphere in Dubai and the UAE has helped the country top the Middle East and Arab region in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business ranking 2020,” said Eggman.
Eman Badr Al Suwaidi, Director of Customs Valuation Department, who is in charge of the implementation of the Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) program, said the AEO program applies modern and advanced procedures in compliance with the WTO requirements.
“The AEO program will help member companies with a better access to world markets,” said Al Suwaidi. “Customs transactions completed through the AEO made 61% of the total number of transactions (4.4m) in the first half of 2020, and this is especially of important ahead of the upcoming major events including EXPO 2020 and the 5th WCO Global AEO Conference, in which more than 1,500 delegates will take part,” she said.
The Client Happiness Department presented the initiatives and services launched by Dubai Customs to enhance business groups’ activity and performance, and reduce operational costs on them.
The meeting also focused on the Cross Border e-Commerce. The innovative platform utilizes block chain technology to integrate and automate operations between Customs, Free Zones, logistics, and courier companies. It is the first of its kind in the region, and it aims to help the emirate become a global hub for e-commerce, and encourage e-commerce companies set their businesses in Dubai. Online sales in the UAE are expected to grow 23% to reach Dh100b.