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UAE and Thailand to launch Cepa talks this month

Thani Al Zeyoudi WAM
Minister of state for foreign trade Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi said that these negotiations are important in cementing UAE’s role as a key global trade enabler

The UAE and Thailand are to launch negotiations to establish a comprehensive economic partnership agreement (Cepa), with the first round of negotiations starting on May 16 in the Emirates.

UAE minister of state for foreign trade Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi said the negotiations are a natural progression following the launch of the first UAE-Thai business council in February 2023, state-run WAM news agency said.

“Thailand is an increasingly important trade and investment partner for the UAE and a high-growth economy in the heart of a rapidly emerging region,” he said. “We believe a Cepa will deliver opportunity in sectors such as tourism, food security, IT, logistics and financial services.”

Thailand’s economy is the second largest in southeast Asia and is projected to grow 3.8 percent in 2023, driven by the rebound in the country’s vital tourism sector.

A UAE-Thailand Cepa will build on the rapidly increasing non-oil trade between the two nations, which increased by 21 percent to $6.1 billion in 2022.

The UAE’s principal exports to Thailand are ethylene polymers, gold, vegetable residues, delivery vehicles and parts, and electric batteries, with iron, steel and cosmetics as emerging sectors.

On the other hand, Thailand’s exports include office machinery and parts, motor vehicle parts, tires and aluminium plating.

The Cepa negotiations with Thailand are the latest under the UAE’s foreign trade agenda, which seeks to double its foreign trade and the national economy by 2031.

The UAE has so far concluded four Cepas with India, Israel, Indonesia and Turkey, and the first two have already come into force. The signing of the other two agreements will follow later.

The UAE is currently in talks with more markets at a regional and global level to establish similar agreements.