UAE, New Zealand explore potential Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement

By Arya M Nair, Official Reporter
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UAE_New Zealand CEPA
Officials at bilateral trade discussion (Courtesy: WAM)

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and New Zealand have explored deeper economic collaboration, including the pursuit of a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA).

The cooperation was discussed when Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, received Mr. Damien O’Connor, New Zealand’s Minister of Trade and Export Growth, in Dubai.

During the meeting, which came as part of a visit to the UAE by a delegation of New Zealand’s leading trade officials, Dr. Al Zeyoudi commended the strong relations shared by the two nations and reaffirmed the common vision to enhance cooperation across key sectors such as agriculture, renewable energy, and healthcare.

Dr. Al Zeyoudi also shared updates on preparations for the World Trade Organization’s 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13), which will be held in Abu Dhabi in 2024.

The UAE and New Zealand have a productive trade relationship, with non-oil trade reaching $805 million in 2022, a growth of 7 percent compared to 2021 and 23 percent more than in 2020. As of 2022, the UAE is New Zealand’s leading trading partner in the Arab World, accounting for 2.5 percent of New Zealand’s total foreign trade.

Dr. Thani bin Ahamed Al-Zeyoudi_UAE_New Zealand CEPA
Dr. Thani bin Ahamed Al-Zeyoudi
UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade

“New Zealand is a valued partner for the UAE in the Oceania region and a nation that shares our firm belief in open, rules-based trade as a catalyst for sustainable economic growth. As we seek to expand our network of trading partners, exploring a potential Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement demonstrates our commitment to delivering new markets and new opportunities for our private sector. We can now look forward to establishing the parameters of a future-facing, resilient, and mutually beneficial deal.”

Mr. O’Connor said that “These exploratory discussions are an important first step toward a trade agreement with the UAE, one of our key export destinations in the region and a valued bilateral partner for New Zealand.”

The talks follow the recent visit to New Zealand by Ms. Reem bint Ibrahim Al Hashemy, UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation, and the signing of a number of bilateral agreements, including an MoU between the UAE’s Etihad Credit Export Insurance and the New Zealand Export Credit Agency on securing export credit, and an MoA on food security signed between the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment and New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

A cornerstone of the “We the UAE 2031” economic vision, which seeks to push non-oil foreign trade beyond $1 trillion by the end of the decade, the UAE’s CEPA program is solidifying ties with strategic allies at an accelerated pace. A total of five agreements have been signed to date, with India, Israel, Turkey, Indonesia and Cambodia, each designed to accelerate economic recovery and secure vital supply chains.

Related News | UAE’s CEPA with Turkey & Indonesia takes effect on 1st Sep 2023