UAE and Costa Rica sign Cepa deal to boost investment and trade ties

The pact will provide new opportunities in priority sectors including logistics, energy, aviation, tourism and infrastructure

President Sheikh Mohamed witnesses the signing of the UAE-Costa Rica Cepa deal via video link from Al Shati Palace in Abu Dhabi. Photo: Presidential Court
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The UAE and Costa Rica signed a comprehensive economic partnership agreement on Wednesday in a deal that will provide new investment opportunities in key sectors and boost trade ties between the two countries.

This pact between the trading partners will boost private sector collaboration and offer investors opportunities in priority sectors including logistics, energy, aviation, tourism and infrastructure development, state news agency Wam said in a report.

“We look forward to the impact this agreement will have on trade and investment ties between the UAE and Costa Rica,” President Sheikh Mohamed said in a post on X on Thursday.

“The UAE is committed to building bridges of friendship and co-operation with nations that share our vision of long-term prosperity.”

Non-oil trade between the UAE and Costa Rica exceeded $65 million in 2023, a 7 per cent increase from 2022 and up 31 per cent compared to 2021, Wam reported.

“This is the first agreement of its kind between Costa Rica and a country of the Middle East, aligning with our administration's strategic objective of expanding into new markets,” Costa Rica President Rodrigo Chaves Robles said.

“I firmly believe this economic partnership will unlock a myriad of trade and investment opportunities.”

This is the latest in a string of Cepa signings by the UAE, and follows the conclusion of negotiations for a deal with Kenya in February. That was aimed at providing further access to the high-growth African continent and expansion into sectors from food to technology.

The latest deal, the UAE's first with a country in Central America, “will kickstart a new era of economic collaboration between our nations, strengthen East-West supply chains and provide an important bridge into a rapidly developing region”, said Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade said.

He added bilateral trade between the UAE and Costa Rica “has been building impressively in recent years” and the new partnership would add momentum especially in sectors such as tourism, renewable energy, food security, information and communications technology and manufacturing.

The UAE is focused on boosting its non-oil trade with countries around the world as it seeks to diversify its economy and attract foreign investment.

The country will exceed its initial target of signing 26 Cepas because of its pace of work and interest from other countries, Dr Al Zeyoudi, told The National in March.

It aims to conclude another seven to eight new Cepa deals in 2024, said the minister.

The country is preparing the “final touches” for the official signing of Cepas that were concluded in the last quarter of 2023 and early this year including with the Republic of the Congo, South Korea, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mauritius and Kenya, the minister said at the time.

The UAE's non-oil foreign trade hit a record Dh3.5 trillion ($953 billion) in 2023, bolstered by its economic diversification plans, despite a decline in the international movement of goods and services.

Updated: April 23, 2024, 8:19 AM