UAE and Vietnam to Launch Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement Talks to Boost Trade and Investment

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The UAE and Vietnam have agreed to commence negotiations for a comprehensive economic partnership agreement (CEPA) to enhance collaboration in trade, investment, economy, industry, energy, logistics, agriculture, and infrastructure. The state-run news agency WAM announced that the shared aspiration of both countries is to elevate their existing economic and trade ties to new heights. Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Trade, revealed that the UAE accounts for 39% of Vietnam’s total trade with Arab countries, making it Vietnam’s number one Arab trade partner. The non-oil trade volume between the two countries reached $8bn (Dhs29.4bn) in 2022, with a 46% increase in goods trade other than mobile phones and accessories from 2019. In 2022, the trade and investment exchanges between the UAE and Vietnam totalled Dhs13.5bn, increasing 9% from 2021 and with 34% and 26% growth from 2020 and 2019, respectively. UAE’s investments in Vietnam amounted to Dhs260m in 2022, with companies such as DP World, Emirates Investment Authority, Mubadala, and Borouge having investments in the Southeast Asian country. Al Zeyoudi asserted that the bilateral trade agreement between the two nations would enhance economic and trade cooperation while creating new investment opportunities and resulting in a higher volume of trade exchanges. Vietnam’s Minister of Trade Nguyen Hong Dien agreed with Al Zeyoudi, emphasising the agreement’s potential for both countries. The development of the UAE’s economic legislation, which enabled full foreign ownership of companies and significantly enhanced the ease of doing business, reinforces the country’s position as a global hub for trade and investment. 

The talks between the two countries come on the heels of the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) Global Trade Outlook and Statistics Report 2022, which ranked the UAE 11th in terms of exports of commodities and the 18th importer of global merchandise goods trade worldwide. The UAE’s trade in goods with the rest of the world hit $1.024tn in 2022, with imports accounting for 22% of that amount and exports growing by 41%. The UAE has signed four agreements with India, Israel, Indonesia, and Turkiye and is currently in talks with South Korea and Ukraine as it remodels itself as a global hub for business and finance beyond the Middle East. The country aims to double its national economy from Dhs1.49tn to Dhs3tn, increase national non-oil exports to Dhs800bn, and raise the value of the UAE’s foreign trade to Dhs4tn by 2031, aligning with the ‘We the UAE Vision 2031.’