UAE, S. Korea launch trade partnership talks

UAE, S. Korea launch trade partnership talks

DUBAI, 14th October, 2021 (WAM) -- The UAE and S. Korea have discussed the prospect of pursuing a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) to strengthen economic ties, enhance investment opportunities and mark a new era of bilateral cooperation with one of Asia’s most important markets.

This came during a meeting between Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, and a high-level Korean delegation, headed by Yeo Han-Koo, S. Korea's Minister for Trade.

The UAE has already started negotiations on two such deals, following the launch of talks with India and Indonesia in September. It underscores the country’s ambition to move fast by striking new trade agreements with high-growth markets in Africa and Asia under a clear social and economic strategy for the next 50 years.

"We are working around the clock to consolidate the UAE’s position as a global trade and logistics hub that connects the world to the broader region and beyond," Dr. Al Zeyoudi said.

"S. Korea and the UAE are natural trade and investment partners with shared goals to deliver sustainable economic growth. Today’s intention to launch CEPA is a step forward in our vision for a mutually beneficial partnership that creates new jobs and investment opportunities. It reinforces our position as a gateway for goods and services that can flow through Africa, Asia and Europe under an economic blueprint for the next 50 years."

In an exclusive statement to the Emirates News Agency (WAM), Yeo Han-Koo said, "UAE is S. Korea’s Special Strategic Partner in the Middle East and our bilateral pursuit of a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement will upgrade our thriving bilateral partnership to the next level.

"The CEPA would serve as a leverage to further expand bilateral trade and investment. And it would intensify future-oriented cooperation between the two countries and serve as a framework for achieving more concrete outcomes from our bilateral collaboration."

He explained that the UAE-Korea strategic partnership will continue to expand in the areas of energy and nuclear power, noting that this future cooperation in the renewable energy, tackling climate change, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions fields is very promising.

"I also would like to note that the UAE-Korea CEPA will be our first-of-its-kind [partnership] in the Middle East. This shows how important this relationship is to Korea."

The CEPA negotiation process is set to begin soon, covering a variety of issues, including market access to goods and services, as well as e-commerce and achieving carbon neutrality.

The UAE is Korea’s largest trading partner in the Arab world, with bilateral trade exchange valued at US$9.4bn in 2020. Non-oil trade in the first six months of 2021 has grown to US$2.1bn.

In recent years, foreign direct investment has focused on strategically important national industries, such as renewable and nuclear energy, hydrocarbons, healthcare and logistics.

Prominent projects include the US$20bn Barakah Nuclear Power Plant in Abu Dhabi, with construction led by Korea Electric Power Corporation in a consortium that also includes Hyundai, Samsung, Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power and Doosan Heavy Industries and Construction.

Earlier this year, Mubadala was part of a consortium that acquired a majority stake in Korean cosmetic pharmaceutical company Hugel for US$1.5bn. In 2020, Korea’s NH Investment & Securities joined a group of asset management and sovereign wealth funds to invest US$20.7bn in Abu Dhabi National Oil Company’s midstream assets.