Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza), a Dubai-based free economic zone, said on Sunday that China remained its largest trading partner in 2016.
The trade between Jafza and China hit 11.3 billion U.S. dollars in 2016, "with many Chinese companies in Dubai using logistics capability to re-export goods and products," Jafza, which boasts the world's biggest man-made commercial port, said in an e-mailed statement.
China was followed by Saudi Arabia (7 billion dollars' worth of trade) and Vietnam (4.3 billion dollars), while its total non-oil foreign trade grew 17 percent to 80.2 billion dollars in 2016, it added.
Jafza is a subsidiary of the world's third biggest container port operator Dubai Ports (DP) World.
"The value and volume of trade through Jafza underlines the strength of the national economy and its ability to adapt to global trading conditions, create investment opportunities and open up new markets to exports from the United Arab Emirates, " said Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, group chairman of DP World.
"Jebel Ali Port plays a pivotal role in enabling international trade so companies operating in Jafza can import and re-export their goods and products to the various countries of the region," he added.
In recent years, several Chinese firms from Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region have set up branches in the free zone in order to import halal goods from China to market them across the Middle East, Adil Al-Zarouni, senior vice president Global Sales of Jafza, told Xinhua.
Machinery, electronics and electrical goods accounted for 49 percent of Jafza's total trade, followed by petrochemicals, oil and gas (16 percent), food and fast moving consumer goods (8 percent), textiles and garments (7 percent) and automotive and spare parts (6 percent).
In 2016, trade with the Asia Pacific region amounted to 32.4 billion dollars, followed by the Middle East at 27.2 billion dollars, Europe (9.9 billion dollars), the Americas (5.5 billion dollars) and Africa (5 billion dollars).