CEPAs help UAE firms expand globally, says Al Saleh

These agreements create new opportunities for businesses to thrive and expand

Abdulla bin Touq, UAE Minister of the Economy; Mehmet Muş, Minister of Trade of Türkiye and Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade the UAE, sign the UAE -Türkiye Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement. — File photo

Issac John

Published: Thu 7 Mar 2024, 10:41 PM

Businesses in the UAE stand to benefit from tariff-free or low-tariff access to international markets of two billion people, representing 10 per cent of the world's GDP, following the ratification of Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreements (CEPAs) with key trading partners.

Once ratified, these agreements create new opportunities for businesses to thrive and expand globally, Abdulla Ahmed Al Saleh, undersecretary of the Ministry of Economy, said.

Speaking at the inaugural conclave of The Electronics Group (TEG), Al Saleh said the UAE, as as a signatory country to the World Trade Organisation's Information Technology Agreement (ITA), seeks to foster a thriving digital economy and promote innovation in the information technology sector.


Present at the conclave were Paras Shahdadpuri, chairman of TEG, Dr. Farah Ali Al Zarooni, assistant undersecretary for the Standards and Regulations Sector at the Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology; Satish Kumar Sivan, consul general of India in Dubai; and. Nathalie Kennedy, Consul General of France in Dubai.

“By eliminating tariffs on a wide range of information technology products, the UAE is creating an ideal environment for businesses to thrive, reducing costs for consumers, and driving technological development across various industries. This commitment not only promotes global trade in electronic goods but also facilitates technology transfer and encourages investment in cutting-edge technologies,” he said.

Al Saleh said as a signatory to the ITA, the UAE stands to benefit significantly by enhancing its competitiveness, attracting foreign investment, and positioning itself as a hub for technological innovation in the region. “Together, we can leverage the opportunities presented by the ITA to drive economic growth, create jobs, and unlock the full potential of the digital economy in the UAE.”

"The TEG Conclave marks a significant milestone in advancing the Ministry’s objectives to foster closer cooperation, increase trade and investment flows, and deepen economic ties between the UAE and the global community. TEG's initiative to convene industry leaders and stakeholders underscores the importance of collaboration in driving innovation and growth in the electronics sector. This event not only enhances UAE's position as a hub for technological advancement but also reinforces our commitment to expanding economic opportunities on a global scale,” said Al Saleh.

Shahdadpuri said Dubai is making impressive strides towards its goal of being a top global city. “With an ambitious GDP target of D33 at Dh25.6 trillion, collaboration between businesses and investors is vital. Addressing areas like FDI, CEPA agreements, and promoting growth in sectors such as real estate and tourism are key. UAE's friendly foreign policy attracts investments, while incentivising manufacturing and exports remains crucial for competitiveness. Together, through collaboration and innovation, we can propel Dubai towards unprecedented economic prosperity," said Shahdadpuri.

A major highlight of the conclave was a panel discussion led by Ashish Panjabi, COO, Jacky’s Retail, on: “How Dubai can sustain its competitive edge" in the dynamic electronics landscape. Hassan Al Hashemi, vice-president of International relations at Dubai Chambers; Mansoor AlMalik, executive director of the Policies and Legislation Division at Dubai Customs; and Nilesh Khalkho, founder and CEO of Sharaf DG were the panellists.

Discussions underscored the need for the UAE to incentivise manufacturing despite challenges such as access to raw materials and skilled workforce. Encouraging large-scale exports and re-exports, along with customs duty, corporate tax, and VAT concessions were identified as essential measures. There were calls to make TV panels customs duty-free, similar to the computer industry, and for closer scrutiny by MoIAT into the certification processes for the electronics industry to streamline costs and validity periods of certifications.

Issac John

Published: Thu 7 Mar 2024, 10:41 PM

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