UAE and Costa Rica launch preliminary Cepa negotiations

Bilateral non-oil trade reached $58.7 million in 2022 with a 19% year-on-year growth

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A Staff Reporter

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Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi and Manuel Tovar Rivera at the launch of the talks.  - Supplied photo
Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi and Manuel Tovar Rivera at the launch of the talks. - Supplied photo

Published: Tue 28 Mar 2023, 3:30 PM

Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade, and Manuel Tovar Rivera, Minister of Foreign Trade of Costa Rica, signed a joint statement marking the launch of preliminary talks to establish a comprehensive economic partnership agreement (Cepa ) between the two countries. The signing took place during the visit of a high-level Costa Rican delegation to the Ministry of Economy’s headquarters in Dubai.

Al Zeyoudi said: “Today, through the launch of preliminary Cepa negotiations, we have laid the foundations for building a significant and influential platform to future-proof UAE-Costa Rica economic and trade relations. This agreement will contribute to establishing a new era of investment and trade in various fields, thereby supporting the sustainable economic development of both our nations and benefitting regional and global economies.”


He added: “Costa Rica is a key strategic partner of the UAE in the Central American region. The launch of preliminary Cepa negotiations reflects the two governments’ shared aspirations to promote bilateral economic relations, boost investment and trade exchanges, expedite the flow of goods, facilitate market access and create new joint investments and projects in priority sectors.”

“The trade and investment exchanges between the two countries continue to grow as the non-oil trade reached AED 216 million (USD 58.7 million) in 2022 with a 19 per cent growth compared to that of 2021,” H.E. added.


The UAE’s investments in Costa Rica span sectors such as IT, tourism, retail, advertising, media, real estate, renewable energy, air transport, and logistics.

Al Zeyoudi emphasised that the UAE is keen to expand its network of trade partners and strengthen existing ties with them. He added that the UAE will continue its efforts to build partnerships with strategic global markets under the country’s comprehensive economic partnerships program. This is in line with the ‘We the UAE vision 2031’ that aims to double the national economy from Dh1.49 trillion to Dh3 trillion, increase national non-oil exports to Dh800 billion, and raise the value of the UAE’s foreign trade to Dh4 trillion by the year 2031.

Rivera said: “Costa Rica is also pursuing an ambitious agenda to expand and diversify our global trade and investment partnerships. The establishment of a Cepa with the UAE will be the beginning of a new era of mutually beneficial relations. This will be our first free trade agreement with a country in the Middle East and Costa Rica will continue to rise in prominence as a key Latin American partner to the UAE. The creation of new trade and investment opportunities will also bring economic and social benefits for the people of both countries.”

The comprehensive economic partnerships program was launched by the UAE government in September 2021 with the aim of expanding the trade and investment partnership with a number of strategic global markets, increase the size of trade exchanges, and enhance growth opportunities for the national exports. Through this programme, the UAE has signed four agreements so far – with India, Israel, Indonesia, and Turkey – and the upcoming period will see the signing of more agreements with other countries. As a result of these efforts, the UAE’s non-oil foreign trade achieved an unprecedented growth and crossed the Dh2 trillion mark for the first time in history in 2022, up 17 per cent from 2021.


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