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HE Ahmed Mahboob Musabih

UAE, DUBAI - Economy

Trade Facilitation Through Innovation

Director, Dubai Customs


With more than 21 years of experience in customs work, His Excellency Ahmed Mahboob Musabih has served Dubai Customs since 1994, where he has progressed through several different managerial and leadership positions. He is also an active member in more than 20 local, regional, and international task forces and committees, including the GCC Customs Union Technical Committee, Economic Development Committee and Security and Justice Committee within the Executive Council of Dubai Government. Ahmed Mahboob Musabih is considered one of the most influential young public figures in Dubai and the UAE.

TBY talks to HE Ahmed Mahboob Musabih, Director of Dubai Customs, on the role the institution is playing in boosting trade.

What have been some of Dubai Customs’ recent achievements?

Dubai Customs has sought to continually improve its business performance across all areas of customs work to serve the country’s economy through further trade facilitation. To that end, we have improved our personnel capacities and put in place the latest technologies and systems that expedite processes while securing the community against the entry of prohibited substances. The UAE was ranked third worldwide and first in the MENA region in the Efficiency of Customs Procedures Index from the latest Global Competitiveness Report 2014-15 issued by the World Economic Forum. This is an important recognition for us which adds to many other local, national and international excellence accolades to our name. In 2014, DC achieved high satisfaction scores among our customers (91.2%), employees (86%), suppliers (84%), partners (86%), and above all the community (90%). These satisfaction figures are the result of our longstanding commitment to spreading happiness among all our stakeholders, in line with the vision and “Happiness Meter” initiative of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

What role has Dubai Customs played as a trade facilitator?

The efficient customs facilitation provided by Dubai Customs has supported the growth of Dubai’s foreign trade with all parts of the world. Dubai has become a hotspot of international trade due to the efficiency of customs services and advanced logistics infrastructure, which brings traders and investors who choose Dubai as their favorite destination real added value and increasing business returns. Subsequently, over the last decade, Dubai’s foreign trade has experienced a five-time growth from AED252 billion in 2003 to 1.331 trillion in 2014.

How is the integration of Dubai Customs into the 2015 GCC Customs Union progressing?

Dubai Customs has kept pace with the ongoing advancement on the path to full implementation of the GCC Customs Union by 2015, by rigorously applying all relevant resolutions and legislation and reinforcing its relationships with Customs authorities in Gulf countries toward the removal of all barriers to a prosperous inter-regional trade.

How does Dubai Customs utilize technology to continue to be a worldwide leader in its field?

Dubai Customs has never ceased investing in technology development and innovation, as we believe it is the only way we can continue carrying out our mission efficiently as a cross-border trade facilitator and protector of society. Some of the major innovations made by DC in the past few years include the “Mirsal 2″ system, which stands as a quantum leap in customs work today because of the huge potential and new technologies it utilizes, as well as its unique integration of various customs procedures in one single electronic platform, in addition to the “Risk Engine” tool, and the advanced x-ray container scanning system and device. This strong base of technology earned our customs practices and business processes world-class recognition, including an international commendation by the 2013 WCO Columbus Diagnostic Mission Report, which praised our experience as a leading model for other Customs Administrations worldwide.

What challenges does Dubai Customs face in the future?

We face mega challenges; however, we tend to turn them into opportunities. Striking the right balance between effective control measures and customs compliance on the one hand, and trade facilitation on the other hand, is the foremost challenge we face, as it is linked to Dubai Customs’ fundamental mission of sustaining economic development through compliance, facilitation, and security enforcement.

What initiatives are being put in place for World Expo 2020?

We are committed to deliver a perfect and extraordinary exhibition experience to the world, by putting in place superior customs services and facilitations for the mega exposition, including the launch of a smart channel dedicated especially for potential exhibitors to streamline and expedite cargo clearance through a 24/7 automated customs clearance system. In addition, exhibitors can benefit from the pre-clearance feature prior to the actual arrival of goods. Dubai Customs will offer further facilitations to Expo 2020, including temporary admission of goods using ATA Carnet System, Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) program, the B2G integrated electronic channel for clearing several consignments in a single transaction, e-Freight for an automated exchange of air fright documents, alongside other facilitation systems, such as e-Inspection, Cargo Reconciliation, and Claim and Refund e-Services?

What does the future hold for Dubai Customs?

Dubai Customs’ future goals are determined based on UAE Vision 2021 and Dubai Plan 2021. Our strategic plan is in line with the directives of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE President, to mark 2015 as the “Year of Innovation” in the country in order to stimulate creativity and mobilize resources across all sectors, further placing the UAE among the leading nations worldwide in terms of innovation. Dubai Customs views this nationwide move with utmost attention in pursuance of its strategic vision—to be the leading customs administration in the world supporting legitimate trade. Studied plans are put in place to unleash the spirit of innovation and creativity among DC employees. This helps reinforce customs processes with new innovations to boost DC’s performance and the UAE’s economic growth. We plan to continue being a global leader in four areas: human capital, technology, knowledge, and security.



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