The UAE and Cambodia have finalised the terms of a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement to boost trade and investment co-operation between the two nations.
A Cepa with Cambodia will serve as a catalyst to increase and diversify bilateral trade by substantially eliminating tariffs, reducing non-tariff trade barriers and promoting trade in goods, services and investment, a statement from the UAE Ministry of Economy on Thursday said.
Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade, and Pan Sorasak, Cambodia’s Minister of Commerce, signed a joint statement confirming the conclusion of negotiations.
“Cambodia is one of the fastest-growing economies in South-East Asia and this deal will help strengthen East-West supply chains, deliver an important new market for our manufacturers, investors and service providers, and offer their exporters an important platform for global expansion,” Dr Al Zeyoudi said.
“Cambodia’s food production and agricultural sectors, which are a critical part of their economy, will also help us achieve our food security ambitions.
“The negotiations took less than six months to complete, which is a clear indication of our shared desire to boost bilateral relations and create new, mutually beneficial opportunities.
”The UAE is working towards signing 26 Cepasas it seeks to diversify its economy, Abdulla bin Touq, Minister of Economy, said last month.It aims to eliminate unnecessary trade barriers, increase market access and set up investment and trade ventures with its partners.
The country has already signed Cepa deals with India, Israel, Indonesia and Turkey, and is close to finalising agreements with Kenya.Last month, it started talks with Costa Rica and also recently concluded negotiations for a new trade deal with Georgia.
Non-oil trade between the UAE and Cambodia exceeded $401 million in 2022, a growth of 31 per cent compared with 2021 and 146 per cent more than 2019, the Ministry of Economy said.Bilateral foreign direct investment reached $3.8 million by the end of 2020, it added.
“Since the UAE-Cambodia Cepa initiation, we believe that this agreement will be another great impetus for our shared growth and prosperity through fostering supply chains, enhancing trade flow and promoting bilateral investment,” Mr Sorasak said.
“The agreement will serve as the catalyst for greater connectivity between Asean and the Arab world, which are amongst the most economically dynamic regions in the world.
”The Cambodian economy recorded 5.1 per cent growth in 2022. The Cepa deal will deliver new opportunities for exports including grains, fruits, meats, processed foods, apparel, footwear and leather goods, according to the statement.
Meanwhile, the UAE will benefit from new export opportunities in machinery, oils and lubricants, and cars and automotive parts, as well as investment opportunities in logistics and infrastructure, travel and tourism projects and renewable energy, the ministry said.
Cambodia is one of the fastest-growing economies in South-east Asia and this deal will help strengthen East-West supply chains
Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade.
The UAE’s new foreign trade agenda is a core component of the nation’s growth strategy that seeks to double the size of the economy from $381 billion to $762 billion by 2030.Last year, the Emirates’ non-oil foreign trade surged 17 per cent annually to reach a record Dh2.23 trillion ($607.2 billion).
This was the first time the UAE’s non-oil foreign trade crossed the Dh2 trillion mark.Cambodia has bilateral free trade agreements with China and South Korea, and FTAs under the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, the statement said.