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UAE and Vietnam begin talks for Cepa deal

The National | 6 April 2023

UAE and Vietnam begin talks for Cepa deal

by Alkesh Sharma

The UAE and Vietnam have agreed to start Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (Cepa) negotiations to strengthen bilateral trade ties as the Emirates pushes ahead with its plans to develop trade and investment relations with partners around the world.

The partnership with the South-east Asian country holds huge potential, Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, said on Thursday.

“Today, Nguyen Hong Dien, Vietnam’s Minister of Industry and Trade, and I agreed to launch negotiations towards a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement, delivering an important new alliance in the heart of South-east Asia,” he said on Twitter.

“It’s a partnership of huge potential: bilateral non-oil trade totalled $7.9 billion in 2022. A Cepa will accelerate these numbers, creating new opportunities for exporters and investors in agriculture, energy, technology and logistics."

In January last year, the UAE also signed an agreement with Vietnam to promote cultural co-operation in areas spanning antiquities, heritage, the arts and libraries, as the Gulf country sought to further boost its creative economy.

The UAE is working towards signing 26 Cepas as it seeks to diversify its economy, Abdulla bin Touq, Minister of Economy, said last month.

It aims to eliminate unnecessary trade barriers, increase market access and set up investment and trade ventures with its partners.

The country has already signed Cepa deals with India, Israel, Indonesia and Turkey, and is close to finalising agreements with Cambodia and Kenya.

Last month, it started talks with Costa Rica and also recently concluded negotiations for a new trade deal with Georgia.

Trade between the UAE and India increased by 10 per cent in the year after the countries signed the deal, Dr Al Zeyoudi said in February.

Non-oil trade rose to nearly $50 billion since the Cepa was signed, putting it on track to achieve its $100 billion goal by 2030, he said.

Meanwhile, the deal with Israel, which took effect on April 1, is aimed at boosting non-oil bilateral trade between the two countries to $10 billion by the end of the decade from $1.3 billion in 2021.

Last year, the Emirates’ non-oil foreign trade surged 17 per cent annually to reach a record Dh2.23 trillion ($607.2 billion).

This was the first time the UAE’s non-oil foreign trade had crossed the Dh2 trillion mark.

 source: The National