Dubai: The UAE wants to be a gateway to 90 per cent of the world’s trade, and the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreements are one of the key ways of doing it, Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade, said on Wednesday.
Addressing a session titled “The UAE’s commitment to greener, smarter supply chains” at the World Green Economy Summit, Zeyoudi said the CEPA agreement with India will help the UAE grow exponentially by expanding trade.
“If UAE wants to continue its trade leadership, you have to ensure the market follows your footsteps. You do that by removing the barriers and obstacles. CEPA is one way of doing it,” Zeyoudi said.
“Let’s take the example of Hong Kong. One of the reasons of their growth is China. It’s going to be same with UAE and India. India is next door to us. Their currency is relatively stable. India is going to help us grow over the next 25 years. We have common growth trajectories. Their economy is on a path to grow at around 7 per cent. Through this trade deal, UAE stands to benefit too.”
In fact, the minister said, it’s countries such as India, Indonesia, Russia, Turkey and South Africa that will be calling the shots in the global economy.
“By 2050, the current G7 will totally change. It will be E7 – the Emerging 7.” It’s with these countries that the UAE wants to expand trade relations.
Not a new concept
The minister elaborated that a CEPA agreement is not new idea, but an old principle that other countries are also implementing.
“One example is Chile. They have signed over 130 trade agreements in the last few years and they have double their economy. The UAE has similar goals.”
Speed is key
Zeyoudi highlighted that one of the key parameters of signing a trade agreement is speed.
“CEPA should not take more than a year to a year-and-a-half, otherwise it will be useless. With Turkey, we will do it in three months,” Zeyoudi said.
The UAE and Turkey began CEPA talks in April this year.
“The volume of non-oil trade between the UAE and Turkey has reached about Dh50.4 billion in 2021, growing by 54 per cent as compared to 2020, which had witnessed an increase of 86 per cent against 2019. Ankara accounts for more than 3 per cent of the UAE’s non-oil foreign trade volume. In addition, UAE investments in Turkey rose to over Dh18.3 billion by the end of 2020, while Turkish investments in the UAE amounted to Dh1.1 billion by the end of 2019,” Zeyoudi said during his visit to Turkey.
“And if the country is not willing to walk with the same speed, then we may not be interested.”
More deals on the cards
The UAE is already expanding ties with Georgia and Cambodia, and deals with more countries could emerge soon.
“Where Georgia stands today, it’s going to grow significantly in the next five years. The UAE wants to be among the first countries to be there.”
Zeyoudi also stressed on the need for neutrality to expand trade relations with countries across the globe.
“It’s part of our principles for the next 50 years. Neutrality will play a key role in running the national economy. We saw it with the Abraham Accords with Israel. The global economy hasn’t been successful taking sides. Look at Iran. It’s our neighbour, it will forever be. We have to boost trade, political talks aside. It’s the same with Turkey.”
Currently, for example, shipments from Turkey to UAE take 24 days, But with new routes that we establish after our agreements, they will take 12 days. Imagine how less the carbon footprint would be.