DUBAI, May 15 (Xinhua) -- Jebel Ali Free Zone, owned and operated by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) ports giant DP World, said on Tuesday that China remained its largest trade partner in 2017, followed by Saudi Arabia, the U.S., Vietnam and India.
Chinese firms continue to use the free zone as their regional base for exports and re-exports of goods, the Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority (Jafza) said in an e-mailed statement.
The free zone also remained as the region's top trade and logistics hub in 2017 by generating 29.4 million metric tonnes of trade, valued at 83.1 billion U.S. dollars.
Jafza's top markets by region were the Middle East at 40 percent, Asia at 31 percent and Europe at 13 percent.
Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, chairman and chief executive officer of DP World, said such impressive growth was achieved "against the headwinds of an economic slowdown across the world."
With a 4-percent year-on-year increase in trade value, Jebel Ali Free Zone contributes 23 percent to the total value of trade in Dubai.
Dubai is regarded as the logistics and trade hub of the UAE which has the most diversified economy among the Gulf Arab nations, according to the International Monetary Fund.
The government aims to reduce the share of oil in the country's GDP to 20 percent by 2021 from 29 percent in 2017, the UAE Ministry of Economy said in a study in March.