The UAE and Georgia have concluded talks on a comprehensive economic partnership agreement (Cepa) that is set to bolster economic ties and boost bilateral trade between the two nations.
The signing took place in Georgia’s capital Tbilisi during a UAE delegation’s visit to the country, according to an official statement on Friday.
Once enacted, the Cepa will eliminate or significantly reduce tariffs, remove non-tariff barriers and promote trade in goods, services and investment, the statement said.
It represents a “huge stride forward in our foreign trade agenda and signals our ambition to build a truly global network of trade partners in strategically important parts of the world”, said Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade.
“Georgia is an economy based on free-market principles that holds considerable promise for our exporters and investors, and we look forward to developing opportunities in priority sectors such as agriculture, transportation, tourism, renewable energy and digital trade.”
Georgia and the UAE's bilateral non-oil trade has surged significantly in recent quarters, with the value of trade climbing to $468 million in 2022, an annual growth of 110 per cent.
The UAE now accounts for more than 63 per cent of the total volume of Georgia’s trade with Arab countries. The Emirates' investment in Georgia represents 5 per cent of the country's total foreign direct investment, making the UAE its sixth largest global investor, government data showed.
The UAE is working towards signing 26 Cepas as it seeks to diversify its economy, Minister of Economy Abdulla bin Touq said this month.
The deal with Georgia is the latest in a string of agreements the UAE has already signed, similar pacts with India, Indonesia, Israel and Turkey.
Establishment of free trade regime between Georgia and the UAE will benefit both countries, Levan Davitashvili, Georgia’s Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development, said.
“Georgia can serve as a best gateway for the UAE companies to the region," he said.
The agreement will provide opportunities to promote and develop different industries in Georgia and will increase and diversify Georgian exports, he added.
“I am certain that this agreement [Cepa] will serve as a solid basis for further enhancement of trade and investment co-operation between our countries,” Mr Davitashvili said.
The UAE aims to boost trade and economic relations with countries around the globe. The deal with Georgia is in line with the Emirates plans to double the size of its economy to Dh3 trillion ($816.88 billion) by 2030, from Dh1.4 trillion in 2021.
It is looking to eliminate unnecessary trade barriers, increase market access and set up investment and trade joint-ventures with its partners.
In 2022, the Emirates' non-oil foreign trade surged 17 per cent annually to reach a record Dh2.23 trillion. This was the first time the UAE’s non-oil foreign trade crossed the Dh2 trillion mark.
The government has adopted an array of measures that have enhanced the resilience of its economy in the face of global economic challenges amid volatile commodity prices, inflation, monetary policy uncertainty, as well as supply chain disruptions.
The UAE economy is estimated to have grown by 7.6 per cent last year, the highest in 11 years, after expanding by 3.9 per cent in 2021, according to the UAE Central Bank.
The country’s economy is projected to grow 3.9 per cent in 2023, according to the central bank.