UAE seeks to cover 103 countries through free trade pacts

Potential pacts represent up to 95% of total global trade

by

Issac John

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Ahead of the next round of talks with six countries, the UAE is initiating a new survey targeting the business owners, industrialists and entrepreneurs. — KT File
Ahead of the next round of talks with six countries, the UAE is initiating a new survey targeting the business owners, industrialists and entrepreneurs. — KT File

Published: Thu 4 May 2023, 8:32 PM

The UAE is targeting to sign Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreements (Cepa) with a total of 22 countries and five economic blocs, which will cover a total of 103 countries and represent up to 95 per cent of total global trade, the Ministry of Economy said on Thursday.

After signing the first Cepa with India on February 18, 2022, which entered into force on May 1, 2022, the UAE has already concluded agreements with Indonesia, Israel, and Turkey. The next round of trade pact negotiations will begin soon with Chile, Vietnam, Ukraine, Kenya, Pakistan, and Thailand.


Ahead of the next round of talks with those six countries, the UAE is initiating a new survey targeting the business owners, industrialists and entrepreneurs in order to gain their insights and inputs. The survey will help shape the parameters of discussions with Chile, Vietnam, Ukraine, Kenya, Pakistan and Thailand, and is open to all interested parties to ensure maximum benefit from the latest roster of deals, the ministry said in a statement.

Juma Alkait, assistant undersecretary for International Trade Affairs Sector, said the private sector is an essential partner in the UAE’s efforts to promote foreign trade and economic growth. “We recognise that businesses face unique challenges and opportunities in different markets, and we need to ensure that our trade agreements reflect those realities to ensure maximum returns to the private sector.


“The survey is an opportunity for businesses to share their experiences, concerns, and priorities directly with us, to not only shape ongoing negotiations but to also inform adjustments on deals already in play,” Alkait added.

The Ministry of Economy said the survey features a total of six sections, covering areas such as current market access in the targeted countries; trade and investment potential; barriers to trade, and the role of government in facilitating exports and investments. The responses will be used by the ministry to ensure the optimum deal for UAE businesses, whether through smoother, more seamless market access for exports or by creating the right climate for UAE investors in the partner countries.


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