Dubai (Reuters) – The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Cambodia have agreed on the terms of a bilateral trade deal, as the Gulf state looks to strengthen trade and commerce ties, particularly in Asia, in strategic economic sectors.
The two countries concluded negotiations for a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), as the trade agreement is known, within six months of launch, according to a statement published by the UAE state news agency WAM.
Once implemented, the CEPA will eliminate many tariffs on Cambodian agricultural products, leather goods, and clothing and footwear while opening up a new market for the UAE’s manufacturing and industrial sectors.
“Cambodia’s food production and agricultural sectors, which are a critical part of their economy, will also help us achieve our food security ambitions,” Thani Al Zeyoudi, UAE minister for foreign trade, said in the statement.
The CEPA programme, launched in 2021 as the global economy recovered from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, is a key element of the UAE’s economic development strategy which aims to double the size of the economy to $762 billion by 2030.
The Gulf state has signed CEPAs with India, Indonesia, Israel and Turkey, and is in the process of negotiating similar agreements with several other countries including Costa Rica, Kenya, and Ukraine.
The UAE’s non-oil trade with Cambodia exceeded $401 million in 2022, up 31% from the previous year, while bilateral foreign direct investments reached almost $4 million by the end of 2020.