The UAE is working on a series of Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreements with a number of countries, Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, said in Abu Dhabi on Friday.
The minister made these remarks on the signing of the Cepa with Turkey, that was signed on Friday in the presence of Abdullah bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy, Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade and Mehmet Muş, Turkish Minister of Trade.
He said that the signing of the fourth Cepa with Türkiye, on top of those signed with India, Indonesia and Israel, allows to the UAE to enter into new markets that reach more than 2.2 billion people, including the Greater Arab Free Trade Area Agreement.
He said that the four agreements will contribute to an over 2.4 per cent increase in the country’s GDP by 2031, further driving UAE exports by adding $120 billion over the next 10 years. This will create more economic and trade opportunities, Dr. Al Zeyoudi explained, noting that, after signing the agreement with Türkiye, the UAE’s economy will be linked to more than 10 per cent of the global economy, ensuring significant expansion in the UAE’s economy.
Dr. Al Zeyoudi said that the UAE is in the process of finalising two new agreements with Cambodia and Georgia within the next three to four weeks, as well as two agreements with Kenya, 85 per cent of which have been agreed upon.
He also hinted at an agreement with Colombia, explaining that negotiations were postponed until after the elections, and will resume soon.
Dr. Al Zeyoudi added that the UAE aims to utilise Cepas expand its partnerships with countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), with negotiations already under way with Thailand and Vietnam. There are also plans to expand in Africa and South America, which would reflect positively on the UAE’s trade growth.
Dr. Al Zeyoudi further revealed that the UAE is also working on comprehensive economic partnership agreements with two economic blocs in the Eurasian region, with negotiations to begin next week and be completed within 6 months, while Cepa negotiations with Ukraine will begin in April.
Al Marri noted that the signing of the Cepa between the UAE and Turkey paves the way for the establishment of a new platform for regional progress and prosperity at a critical juncture in the global economy. “The two countries share keen desire to work together to launch a new path of joint growth and mutual opportunities,” he said, noting that the efforts made by the two sides have begun to achieve real economic integration that serves their aspirations and opportunities.”
“Under the Cepa, customs duties on more than 93 per cent of the value of non-oil intra-trade will be cancelled or reduced, enhancing chances for bilateral trade between the two countries to reach $40 billion over the next five years, up from about $19 billion currently,” he added.
For his part, Al Zeyoudi affirmed that the signing of the Cepa with Türkiye is the culmination of diplomatic relations spanning over 50 years and the continuation of the momentum of their economic cooperation and trade growth.
Turkey is the UAE’s sixth-largest trading partner in 2022, with the UAE-Türkiye non-oil foreign trade standing at $18.9 billion last year.
“We extend our sincere thanks and appreciation to the UAE leadership, government, and people for providing support to the Turkish people, impacted by the devastating earthquakes that hit the country recently,” said Mehmet Muş, Turkish Minister of Trade.
He added that a trade and investment forum will be held with the involvement of businessmen and investors from the two countries to build on Friday’s agreement.
- With inputs from WAM
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