Thursday, 21 October 2021 08:34 GMT

UAE, South Korea begin talks to boost trade ties

(MENAFN- Khaleej Times) The UAE and South Korea on Thursday began discussions on further bolstering their trade and investment partnership with a new comprehensive agreement.

Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade, and Yeo Han-Koo, South Korean Minister for Trade, discussed the prospect of pursuing a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) to strengthen economic ties, enhance investment opportunities and mark a new era of bilateral cooperation with one of Asia's most important markets.

The UAE-South Korea's largest trading partner in the Arab world with a bilateral trade value of $9.4 billion in 2020 -- has already started negotiations on two such deals, following the launch of talks with India and Indonesia in September. CEPA talks underscore the UAE's ambition to move fast by striking new trade agreements with high-growth markets in Africa and Asia under a clear social and economic strategy for the next 50 years.

“We are working around the clock to consolidate the UAE's position as a global trade and logistics hub that connects the world to the broader region and beyond,” Dr. Al Zeyoudi said.

“South Korea and the UAE are natural trade and investment partners with shared goals to deliver sustainable economic growth. Today's intention to launch CEPA is a step forward in our vision for a mutually beneficial partnership that creates new jobs and investment opportunities. It reinforces our position as a gateway for goods and services that can flow through Africa, Asia and Europe under an economic blueprint for the next 50 years,” Dr. Al Zeyoudi said.

Yeo Han-Koo said the UAE is Korea's Special Strategic Partner in the Middle East and the bilateral pursuit of a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement will upgrade the thriving bilateral partnership to the next level. “The CEPA would serve as a leverage to further expand bilateral trade and investment. And it would intensify future-oriented cooperation between two countries and serve as a framework for achieving more concrete outcomes from our bilateral collaboration.”

The UAE is South Korea's largest trading partner in the Arab world, with a bilateral trade exchange valued at $9.4 billion in 2020. Non-oil trade in the first six months of 2021 has grown to $2.1 billion.

In recent years, foreign direct investment has focused on strategically important national industries, such as renewable and nuclear energy, hydrocarbons, healthcare and logistics.

Prominent joint venture projects include the $20 billion Barakah Nuclear Power Plant in Abu Dhabi, with construction led by Korea Electric Power Corporation in a consortium that also includes Hyundai, Samsung, Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power and Doosan Heavy Industries and Construction.

Earlier this year, Mubadala was part of a consortium that acquired a majority stake in South Korean cosmetic pharmaceutical company Hugel for $1.5 billion. While in 2020, South Korea's NH Investment & Securities joined a group of asset management and sovereign wealth funds to invest $20.7 billion in Abu Dhabi National Oil Company's midstream assets.

Issac John Editorial Director of Khaleej Times, is a well-connected Indian journalist and an economic and financial commentator. He has been in the UAE's mainstream journalism for 35 years, including 23 years with Khaleej Times. A post-graduate in English and graduate in economics, he has won over two dozen awards. Acclaimed for his authentic and insightful analysis of global and regional businesses and economic trends, he is respected for his astute understanding of the local business scene. Click/tap here to subscribe to Khaleej Times news alerts on Telegram.


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