UAE and Ukraine review progress in push to sign Cepa deal

The Emirates launched preliminary talks with the eastern European nation in December 2022

Minister of State for Foreign Trade Thani Al Zeyoudi met Yulia Svyrydenko, Ukraine's First Deputy Prime Minister, in Dubai on Thursday. Photo: Ministry of Economy
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UAE and Ukrainian officials have discussed the latest developments towards the signing of a comprehensive economic partnership agreement (Cepa) between the two countries.

The Emirates announced the launch of preliminary Cepa talks with Ukraine in December 2022.

Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, met Yulia Svyrydenko, Ukraine's First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Agriculture, and Taras Kachka, the eastern European nation's Deputy Minister of Economic Development, in Dubai on Thursday.

The meeting explored measures to strengthen co-operation in sectors such as property, transport, energy, agriculture, technology, manufacturing and retail.

“The agreement presents a new road map to boost trade exchanges, provide more investment and trade opportunities for the UAE and Ukrainian business communities, and foster co-operation in various economic fields, especially infrastructure, heavy industries, aviation, information technology and food security,” Dr Al Zeyoudi said.

“The two countries boast strategic geographical locations through which the rest of the world can access major markets in Europe, Africa and Asia. Besides, both markets have significant investment capabilities and great economic potential.”

The UAE was Ukraine's second-largest GCC trade partner in 2021, while non-oil trade between the two countries exceeded Dh1.4 billion ($381 million) in 2022, the ministry said.

The Emirates' investments in Ukraine stood at $100 million as of September 2020, making the UAE the largest Arab investor in Ukraine.

The investments span sectors such as manufacturing, transport, storage, gas, retail trade, property and agriculture.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian foreign direct investment in the UAE stood at $84 million at the beginning of 2021, mostly in property, retail trade, manufacturing, transport, warehousing and technology, the ministry said.

The Cepa negotiations build on the more than $3 billion in trade and investment pledges made during Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s visit to the UAE in February 2021.

The discussions come after President Sheikh Mohamed met Ukraine's first lady Olena Zelenska in Abu Dhabi this week.

Sheikh Mohamed said that $4 million would be directed to the Olena Zelenska Foundation, which will be used to contribute to the construction of 10 buildings that will house about 100 children, news agency Wam reported.

President Sheikh Mohamed met Ukrainian first lady Olena Zelenska at the Sea Palace in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday. AFP

“The trade and economic relations between the UAE and Ukraine are founded on fruitful co-operation and they continue to grow in various fields,” Ms Svyrydenko said.

“The [Cepa] partnership will contribute to enhancing the bilateral economic relations and their competitiveness in an unprecedented manner.

“It will also boost investment exchanges and business partnerships, thus promoting opportunities and enablers for the business communities in both countries.”

The UAE is working towards signing 26 Cepa deals as it seeks to attract more investment and diversify its economy, Minister of Economy Abdulla bin Touq said this month.

The Emirates has signed similar deals with India, Indonesia, Israel and Turkey.

It is also in negotiations with Cambodia, Georgia and Vietnam.

The agreements aim to boost bilateral trade and economic relations globally, and support the UAE's goal to double the size of its economy to Dh3 trillion by 2030.

The Emirates is looking to eliminate or reduce tariffs, remove unnecessary trade barriers, increase market access and set up investment and trade joint ventures with its partners.

These efforts are part of plans to transition to a new economic model marked by enhanced openness, competitiveness, knowledge and innovation, Dr Al Zeyoudi said.

Updated: March 09, 2023, 9:26 AM