UAE to sign trade deals with 8 countries; seize new investment opportunities


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Dubai - The economic partnerships are expected to increase the UAE’s current trade volume of Dh257 billion to Dh40 billion annually

By Suneeti Ahuja Kohli & Dhanusha Gokulan

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Published: Sun 5 Sep 2021, 6:28 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Sep 2021, 6:44 PM

The UAE is signing comprehensive economic partnership agreements with eight countries to consolidate its position as a gateway for global trade and investment.

The deal with India, Indonesia, Turkey, UK, Israel, Kenya, South Korea and Ethiopia will widen its access in the emerging markets and fuel the emirate’s future economic growth.

The agreements are vital as the UAE aims to double its economy from Dh1.4 trillion to Dh3 trillion in the next 10 years. The economic partnerships are expected to increase the UAE’s current trade volume of Dh257 billion with these markets to Dh40 billion annually.

Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, said: “These comprehensive agreements will help us get wider accessibility to those markets. We are talking about 10 per cent of the global trade and 60 per cent of the global populations of those eight countries. These countries were chosen on the basis of a few criteria, including knowledge-based economy, domestic consumption, international businesses in those countries, and their historical relations with the UAE.”

These will be among the many such partnerships that will be forged over the next few years. The UAE government has approved the ‘Higher Committee for Economic Agreements’ to oversee the expansion of partnerships with new markets and seize new investment and economic opportunities.

“The development of the country’s network of trade and investment partnerships in global markets will ensure the growth of UAE trade with the world. We are confident of the potential for broad cooperation between the UAE and eight key economic players during this stage, and the role the partnerships can play in promoting trade exchange, increasing the volume of joint investments, and supporting the national economy at all levels,” said Al Zeyoudi.

The UAE government has also launched three initiatives to strengthen the country’s ability to keep pace with the ever-evolving global economy and consolidate its position as one of the world’s most attractive countries for foreign direct investment. The UAE plans to attract Dh550 billion in foreign investment over the next nine years. This investment will be channelled to about 16 sectors, the most important ones being agritech, medical, and technology.

On the export front, the UAE has launched 10X10, a programme that will allow it to achieve a 10 per cent annual increase in exports to 10 key global markets, which includes China, the UK, the Netherlands, Italy, Russia, Poland, Luxembourg, Australia, New Zealand and Indonesia. Through an integrated system of incentives and benefits, the project will work to achieve a 14 per cent growth in cumulative foreign direct investment outflow by 2030.

The UAE government has also announced a new electronic portal,, which will act as an umbrella for all investment-related local entities and 14 state economic entities and present all investment opportunities across the UAE. The portal will provide comprehensive information on the local investment environment, as well as business and bank account set-up services. A centralised portal such as this could emerge as a one-stop-shop for global investors and start-ups.

The “Projects of the 50” also stress on deepening the domestic economy and enhancing its competitiveness. The National In-Country Value Program will promote domestic products and support local small and medium-sized companies.

By 2025, the program aims to create a demand for local products and services by redirecting more than 42 per cent of procurement of the federal government and major UAE companies to local products and services.

The programme will be implemented through 45 federal entities and 15 major national companies and increase local suppliers from 5,000 to 7,300. It aims to contribute to advancing the economic and social development of the country by redirecting more than 50 per cent of the spending of government agencies and national companies on purchases and services to the national economy by 2031.

The strengthening of local economy will enable the UAE to reduce its dependence on imports in priority sectors, localise supply chains, support the national industrial sector and increase manufacturing and industrial output.

The United Arab Emirates is hoping to exceed 4 per cent growth in 2021, a higher rate of growth than previously forecast, and is set to continue expanding its economy the next year at a relatively faster pace.

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