UAE and South Korea conclude Cepa talks to strengthen trade ties

Bilateral non-oil trade reached $3 billion in the first half of this year

The UAE-South Korea Cepa deal can be a powerful catalyst for innovation and enterprise, according to Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade. Victor Besa / The National
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The UAE and South Korea have concluded negotiations for a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement to strengthen their trade ties.

A UAE-South Korea Cepa will reinforce East-West supply chains, enable two-way foreign direct investment flows and improve joint research and knowledge exchange across sectors including energy, advanced manufacturing, technology, food security and healthcare, Wam reported on Saturday.

“Our two nations share a deep commitment to driving long-term, sustainable growth through trade, investment and economic diversification,” Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, said.

“Our latest Cepa will drive co-operation across each of them, empowering both economies with new insights, experiences and knowledge. This deal can potentially be a powerful catalyst for innovation and enterprise.”

The latest deal comes as trade relations between the UAE and South Korea continue to strengthen.

In the first half of 2023, bilateral non-oil trade reached $3 billion, which is consistent with the first half of 2022 and up 21 per cent compared to the same period in 2021.

The UAE is South Korea’s second-largest Arab trade partner, while South Korea is the UAE’s 11th-largest trading partner among non-Arab Asian countries, the report said.

In April, all four units of the $20 billion Barakah Power Plant in Abu Dhabi, constructed by the Korea Electric Power Corporation in a consortium that included Hyundai, Samsung, Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power, and Doosan Heavy Industries and Construction, became operational, with the capability of meeting up to 25 per cent of the UAE's electricity needs.

The two countries also signed a number of preliminary agreements during the visit of South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol to the UAE in January.

These include the ROK-UAE Trade and Investment Promotion Framework to pursue optimal trade collaboration strategies, covering areas such as supply, digital trade, logistics, business environment and technical barriers to trade, and a $30 billion plan to invest in strategic sectors of the Korean economy.

The UAE is working towards signing 26 Cepas as it seeks to attract more investment and to diversify its economy.

It has signed Comprehensive Partnership Agreements with India, Israel, Turkey, Indonesia, Cambodia and Georgia. The first four are in effect.

The UAE is seeking to expand trade with partners as it pursues its target of Dh4 trillion ($1.09 trillion) in foreign trade by 2031.

The UAE's non-oil foreign trade hit a record Dh1.24 trillion in the first half of 2023, up 14.4 per cent year on year.

Overall, Cepas are expected to add about 2.6 per cent to the UAE's economy by 2030, Dr Al Zeyoudi said previously.

Updated: October 14, 2023, 10:58 AM