The UAE and Colombia have completed the first phase of a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement to strengthen trade and investment relations.
Authorities expect to finalise the deal in three months, which will be a significant driver of growth for businesses in both countries, state news agency Wam reported on Friday.
“The agreement is part of the country's programme to form economic agreements with many countries and is a key driver of its efforts to bolster its openness to the world, to double its GDP in the coming decade,” said Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade.
The UAE, the Arab world’s second-largest economy, is boosting trade ties with a number of countries including India, Indonesia, South Korea, Turkey and Israel.
Earlier this year, the UAE and India, Asia’s second-largest economy, signed a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement that is expected to boost non-oil trade between the two countries to $100 billion in five years, from $60bn currently. It also concluded talks with Israel aimed at signing a similar agreement to bolster trade relations.
As part of the UAE-Colombia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement, the two countries will reduce or do away with customs tariffs on a wide range of goods, increase access to each other's markets, encourage mutual investments, create job opportunities and enlarge the scope of their co-operation in priority sectors, such as hospitality, tourism, infrastructure, agriculture and food production.
The development comes as the UAE plans to sign eight economic partnership agreements this year and 27 overall, Abdulla bin Touq, Minister of Economy, said at the Annual Investment Meeting in Dubai.
"If we want to double our economy from Dh1.4 trillion ($381bn) to Dh3 trillion in seven years that we have announced, we have to average a growth of about 5 per cent to 6 per cent," the minister said on the sidelines of the event on Monday. "I’m hoping for that target to happen this year."
The government is also holding Cepa negotiations with Indonesia, the largest economy in South-East Asia.
A similar deal is being negotiated with South Korea, which is expected to be finalised by the end of 2022.
The UAE is the main trading partner of Colombia in the Arab world.
Trade exchange with the Emirates accounted for 40 per cent of Colombia’s trade with the region in 2020.
Non-oil trade between the two countries was valued at Dh991 million last year and this figure is expected to “increase three-fold in the years to come” as authorities focus on strengthening ties.