UAE and Philippines seek to strengthen economic relations amid Cepa discussions

The countries are looking to build on the $500 million worth of non-oil trade posted in the first half of 2023

The UAE-Philippines Business Forum in Manila has explored opportunities for investments and co-operation with the private sector.
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Economic officials from the UAE and the Philippines have held advanced discussions to strengthen relations as the two countries work towards forging a key trade deal.

The talks were held during the UAE-Philippines Business Forum held in Manila, where the two sides explored opportunities for investments and co-operation with the private sector.

The countries began talks for a Comprehensive and Economic Partnership Agreement in February 2022. In September this year, officials said the both sides were edging closer to a deal.

The UAE trade delegation, led by Ahmed Al Sayegh, Minister of State, and Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, seeks to build on the $500 million non-oil trade posted between the two countries in the first half of 2023.

“The UAE and the Philippines have made significant strides in strengthening their economic and bilateral partnership, where mutual efforts have been successful in facilitating investments and collaboration in key sectors," Mr Al Sayegh said in a statement.

The Philippines – whose citizens are one of the largest communities of foreign residents in the UAE – is among the fastest-growing economies globally and is continuing to attract foreign investment to boost key sectors and create jobs.

The Philippines is focusing on developing 197 major infrastructure projects worth approximately $155 billion across sectors including digital connectivity, health, power and energy, agriculture, water supply and irrigation.

The country's gross domestic product is projected to hit about $640.2 billion by 2028, which would be fourth in the Association of South-East Asian Nations, data from Statista shows.

Manila this month reported that the economy rebounded in the third quarter of 2023 with a 5.9 per cent growth, which was higher than a 4.7 per cent estimate from Reuters.

In 2022, the UAE ranked as the 17th major trading partner for the Philippines, according to government data.

The country's regional location and "natural resources and hard-working talent" gives it "substantial potential that offers a wide range of opportunities for UAE businesses", Dr Al Zeyoudi said.

The countries aim to "develop agile and diverse economies capable of securing long-term, sustainable growth for our people", he said.

The Philippines is also set to participate in the Cop28 climate change conference in Dubai, which starts on November 30 The country will be led at the summit by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

Updated: November 26, 2023, 6:18 AM