UAE and Republic of the Congo finalise terms of Cepa

Non-oil trade between countries surged 134 per cent to $2.1 billion in the first half of the year

Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, and Jean-Baptiste Ondaye, the Republic of the Congo’s Minister of Economy and Finance, sign the agreement. Photo: Ministry of Foreign Trade
Powered by automated translation

The UAE and the Republic of the Congo have concluded the terms of a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement to boost trade and investment and build stronger ties.

After its ratification, the deal aims to reduce or eliminate tariffs, remove other trade barriers, bolster market entry, refine customs processes and establish frameworks for investment and collaboration.

“A thriving economy in the West-Central African region, [the Republic of the Congo] offers an important trade destination and gateway to Central Africa for our exporters, while in return, the UAE offers a vital connection to Gulf and Asian markets,” said Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade.

The deal builds on growing bilateral co-operation between the two countries.

In the first half of the year, non-oil trade increased 134 per cent on a yearly basis to $2.1 billion between the Emirates and the Republic of the Congo, also known as Congo-Brazzaville.

The total value of non-oil trade reached approximately $2.2 billion last year, an annual growth of 5 per cent and 29 per cent compared to 2021 and 2020, respectively.

The deal also followed the signing of three strategic agreements between the nations early this year on double taxation avoidance, investment promotion and protection, and air transport.

It is the second Cepa deal between the UAE with an African nation. Last week, it concluded the terms of a deal with Mauritius to boost private sector collaboration.

“I have no doubt that the strategic partnership agreement with the UAE that we have just concluded today will greatly contribute to the financing of structuring projects in Congo,” said Jean-Baptiste Ondaye, the Republic of the Congo’s Minister of Economy and Finance.

The Republic of the Congo is the UAE's 12th largest trading partner among non-Arab African countries. The Emirates is the Republic of the Congo's eighth largest export market and 13th biggest import market, as per last year's official data.

The Emirates also accounts for about 72 per cent of the Republic of the Congo's non-oil trade with Arab countries.

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

It has signed Cepas with India, Israel, Turkey, Indonesia, Cambodia and Georgia, each of which are designed to boost economic activity and secure supply chains. The first four agreements are already 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. It aims to double the size of its economy by 2030.

The UAE's non-oil foreign trade hit a record Dh1.24 trillion in the first half of the year, 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 in June.

Updated: December 28, 2023, 1:02 PM