GCC toy re-exports drop
Dubai, February 25, 2009
Re-export of toys in the GCC dropped continuously during the last two years, according to Epoc Messe Frankfurt, organisers of the Middle East Toy Fair.
According to the latest available figures compiled by the Dubai Port, in 2006 and 2007, the toy imports were valued at Dh518 million ($141 million) and Dh603 million respectively, indicating an increase of seven per cent.
In 2005, 2006 and 2007, the re-exports were valued at Dh348 million, Dh339 million, and Dh334 million respectively; or a decline in the value by 2.65 per cent (2005) and1.3 per cent (2006).
“The latest figures available from the Dubai Port has shown that more imported toys remained in the country during the three-year period under review from 2005 to 2008, as the amount of re-exported toys declined during the period,” said Elisabeth Brehl, managing director of Epoc Messe Frankfurt.
“The GCC toy market relies heavily on imports as there is hardly any regional production of toys. With most of the worldwide production facilities for toys in Asia, the majority of toys are shipped from that region. However, seven per cent are imported directly from Europe and three per cent from the US and Canada.”
Ms. Brehl added that the import of toys to Dubai has grown more than 16% in 2007. Re-exported toys in 2007 equated to a value of over Dh334 million. This figure emphasises the role of Dubai as a distribution hub in the region.
In the past years, the city has established itself as the central logistic and trading hub for the Middle East region because of the relatively simple import and re-exports procedures at the Dubai Ports. Countries like Iraq or Libya, which are difficult to reach directly for manufacturers, are served from Dubai through various distributors, exporters and other trading companies.
“The increased demand for toys and baby accessories are an indicator of the increased population and favorable demographics in the UAE,” Brehl added.
Dubai’s top 12 major re-export destinations in the GCC, CIS and African countries, in this order of importance are - Iran, Iraq, Algeria, Kuwait, Libya, Pakistan, Armenia, Saudi Arabia, Kazakhstan, Bahrain, Azerbaijan and Sudan. While the top countries exporting toys, and baby accessories to Dubai are China, European Countries, US and Canada, Japan, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.
In view of the increase in toy imports in this country, the international exhibitors wishing to tap the growing economy of this region stand to gain.
Brehl said, “The GCC and the Gulf countries are slightly affected by the economic downturn, but its growing young population ensures that there will be continuing growth and demand for toys, baby accessories and school stationery.”
“These past few years there have been concerns about unsafe toys manufactured in Asia. The issue of toy safety and age appropriate toys was emphasized by members of the Toy Industry Association (US) during the Middle East Toy Fair exhibition; as well as the continued presence of the Dubai Municipality.”
The Middle East Toy Fair will be held at the Dubai International Convention & Exhibition Centre from March 23 to 25.
It is said to be the region’s biggest trade exhibition for toys, baby and infant products, stationery and back-to-school products, games, hobbies, gifts, apparel and licensing. The specific areas will give visitors and exhibitors a place to source products and build new business relationships.
It is a unique platform for exhibitors to network with one another and meet major buyers, key industry players, and educators involved in the shaping of the Middle East toy market. – TradeArabia News Service