The UAE and New Zealand have agreed to work together in seven priority economic sectors over the next two years to further boost trade and investment between the two countries.
Development of trade and mutual investments, advanced technology, innovative industries, agriculture and food security, renewable power, logistics; entrepreneurship and tourism are among the seven tracks identified to help boost investment and commerce, the UAE Ministry of Economy said on Thursday.
The two sides discussed the potential of increasing economic co-operation at the eighth session of the UAE-New Zealand Joint Economic Committee.
The meeting, held on the sidelines of Expo 2020 Dubai, was chaired by Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, who said the economic partnership between the two countries has “constantly evolved towards further progress and prosperity”.
“Non-oil trade between the UAE and New Zealand climbed to nearly Dh2.8 billion [$763 million] by the end of 2021, a 14.2 per cent increase from 2020 and a 13.4 per cent rise from 2019 levels.
“The UAE is New Zealand’s 10th largest trading partner globally, accounting for 2.5 per cent of New Zealand's foreign trade,” Mr Al Zeyoudi said.
“We are also New Zealand’s number one Arab trading partner, accounting for 50 per cent of its trade with the Arab world.”
The UAE’s direct investments in New Zealand hit Dh625m by the end of March last year while New Zealand’s flow of investment into the UAE stood at Dh272.5m, the minister said.
The two sides signed several preliminary agreements during the JEC meeting, including a pact between the UAE’s Etihad Credit Export Insurance and the New Zealand Export Credit Agency to boost trade momentum, export investment and efforts to promote commodity exports.
“We are keen to strengthen our trade and economic relations with the UAE by forging new partnerships with the public and private sectors,” New Zealand’s Minister for Trade and Export Growth Damian O'Connor said.
“We will work to strengthen our co-operation with the UAE in the areas of agricultural technology, innovation and trade facilitation.”
The UAE, the Arab world’s second-biggest economy, has made a strong recovery from the coronavirus-induced economic slowdown and has maintained steady trade momentum despite pandemic-related uncertainty.
The country’s exports are projected to expand at an average annual rate of more than 6 per cent to Dh1.1 trillion by 2030, as it continues to diversify its economy away from oil, Standard Chartered said in a report this month.
The UAE is further strengthening relations with key trading partners.
Last month the country signed a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with India, which is expected to boost non-oil trade between the two countries to $100bn in five years, from $60bn currently.
The UAE and Israel are also set to sign a trade and economic co-operation agreement this month that could propel Israel on to the list of the UAE’s top 10 trading partners as the two nations continue to boost commerce and investment ties.
“The UAE and Israel are looking forward to conclude the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement before the end of the month,” Mohamed Al Khaja, the UAE’s ambassador to Israel, said on Twitter on Wednesday.
It is also in CEPA negotiations with Indonesia, the biggest South-East Asian economy.
A similar deal is being negotiated with South Korea, which is expected to be finalised by the end of 2022. The agreement with South Korea aims to enhance the economic partnership between the two countries to a minimum of $20bn in the next three to five years.