United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the Kingdom of Cambodia have finalized the terms of a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), paving the way for a new era of trade and investment cooperation between the two nations.
The successful conclusion of negotiations was confirmed with the signing of a joint statement by Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade, and PAN Sorasak, Cambodia’s Minister of Commerce. The CEPA with Cambodia will serve as a catalyst to increase and diversify bilateral trade by substantially eliminating tariffs, reducing non-tariff trade barriers, and promoting trade in goods, services, and investment.
It builds on growing UAE-Cambodia economic relations that, in 2022, resulted in non-oil trade exceeding US$401 million, which represents a growth of 31 percent compared to 2021 – and 146 percent more in the pre-Covid year of 2019. In terms of investments, bilateral FDI had reached US$3.8 million by the end of 2020.
The Cambodian economy is one of the most promising in South-East Asia, enjoying 5.1 percent growth in 2022. This deal will deliver new opportunities for its key exports, which include grains, fruits, meats, processed foods, apparel, footwear, and leather goods.
UAE will benefit from new export opportunities in machinery, oils and lubricants, and cars and automotive parts, as well as investment opportunities in logistics and infrastructure, travel and tourism projects, and renewable energy.
The agreement will serve as the catalyst for greater connectivity between ASEAN, India, and the Arab World, which are amongst the most economically dynamic regions in the world. The UAE’s new foreign trade agenda is a core component of the nation’s growth strategy that seeks to double the size of the economy from US$381 billion to US$762 billion by 2030.
The UAE has now signed CEPAs with India, Israel, Indonesia, and Türkiye, and is set to conclude negotiations with other strategically important nations in the coming weeks. The first ever CEPA UAE has entered into is with India and May 1st 2023 marks one year of CEPA entering into force.