UAE Ministry of State for Foreign Trade, and the Republic of Korea’s (ROK) Ministry of Trade, have concluded negotiations towards a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) between the two nations, which will pave the way for a new chapter of economic cooperation.
Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, and Mr. Dukgeun Ahn, Minister of Trade Abdullah for S. Korea signed the CEPA negotiations. Mr. Saif Al Nuaimi, UAE Ambassador to South Korea, and Mr. Juma Al Kait, Assistant Undersecretary for Foreign Trade Affairs in the Ministry of Economy, attended the signing in the Korean capital, Seoul.
This represents the latest milestone in the UAE’s foreign trade agenda, launched in September 2021 to develop deeper ties with strategic allies worldwide.
A UAE-Korea CEPA will reinforce East-West supply chains, facilitate two-way FDI flows, and enhance joint research and knowledge exchange across a range of sectors, including energy, advanced manufacturing, technology, food security and healthcare.
“The Republic of Korea is an important growth partner for the UAE, with its highly sophisticated economy built on manufacturing, logistics, and advanced technology. Our two nations share a deep commitment to driving long-term, sustainable growth through trade, investment and economic diversification. Our latest CEPA will drive cooperation across each of them, empowering both economies with new insights, experiences and knowledge. This deal can potentially be a powerful catalyst for innovation and enterprise.”
The bilateral deal comes amid advancing trade exchange between the two nations. In the first half of 2023, bilateral non-oil trade reached $3 billion, which is consistent with H1 2022 and up 21 percent in the same period in 2021.
The UAE is Korea’s second-largest Arab trade partner, while Korea is the UAE’s eleventh-largest trading partner among non-Arab Asian countries.
At the Presidential Summit in January 2023, the two nations signed a number of memoranda of understanding, including the ROK-UAE Trade and Investment Promotion Framework to pursue optimal trade collaboration strategies, covering areas such as supply chains, digital trade, logistics, business environment and technical trade barriers, and a $30 billion plans to invest in strategic sectors of the Korean economy.
In April this year, all four units of the $20 billion Barakah Power Plant in Abu Dhabi, constructed by the Korea Electric Power Corporation in a consortium that included Hyundai, Samsung, Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power, and Doosan Heavy Industries and Construction, became operational, with the capability of meeting up to 25 percent of the UAE’s electricity needs.