UAE Strikes Colombia Deal to Strengthen Latin American Links

UAE Strikes Colombia Deal to Strengthen Latin American Links

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has taken significant strides in bolstering trade relations with Latin America, solidifying a comprehensive economic partnership agreement with Colombia. This pivotal move follows closely on the heels of a similar agreement with Costa Rica.

In a historic signing ceremony, officials from the UAE and Colombia inked an agreement aimed at slashing tariffs and dismantling trade barriers between the two nations. UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan hailed the partnership as the commencement of a “promising new chapter in deepening economic ties between the two nations.”

Bilateral non-oil trade between the UAE and Colombia surged by an impressive 43 percent last year, reaching an unprecedented high of over $53 million. The Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (Cepa) is poised to pave the way for increased investment and joint ventures across various sectors, including energy, environment, hospitality, tourism, infrastructure, agriculture, and food production, as reported by the state-run Wam news agency.

Colombia, Latin America’s fourth-largest economy, anticipates a growth rate of 1.8 percent this year, a notable improvement from the meager 0.6 percent recorded in 2023, according to Finance Minister Ricardo Bonilla.

While the bulk of Colombia’s exports traditionally find their way to the US, Canada, or other Latin American markets, the nation aims to expand its reach to Asian, European, and Middle Eastern markets. With minerals such as crude and refined oil, and coal constituting the majority of its exports, Colombia also seeks to enhance its export portfolio by emphasizing manufactured goods, which offer significant value addition. Additionally, the country’s robust service exports, predominantly fueled by tourism, further contribute to its economic diversification efforts.

Emphasizing the significance of the newfound partnership, Colombian President Gustavo Petro remarked, “UAE and Colombian ports, and our peoples, may embrace in friendship, solidarity, and goodwill, which is what can actually save humanity.”

In a bid to fortify connectivity between the two nations, Dubai-based airline Emirates is set to launch a daily service from Dubai to Bogotá, Colombia, commencing on June 3. This initiative marks Emirates’ fourth gateway into South America, augmenting its existing routes to São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Buenos Aires.

The UAE’s agreement with Colombia marks the latest milestone in its Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (Cepa) program, established in 2021. With agreements already in place with more than a dozen countries, including India, South Korea, Kenya, and the Republic of Congo, the UAE aims to propel non-oil foreign trade past AED4 trillion ($1 trillion) by 2031. Ongoing negotiations with Australia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Vietnam underscore the UAE’s unwavering commitment to fostering global economic partnerships and driving sustainable growth.

Source: State-run Wam news agency.

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