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UAE-Georgia deal to treble non-oil trade by 2028

The signing of the UAE-Georgia Cepa, which removes or reduces tariffs on 95% of product lines Wam
The signing of the UAE-Georgia Cepa, which removes or reduces tariffs on 95% of product lines
  • Cepa targets $1.5bn over five years
  • UAE is Georgia’s sixth largest investor
  • Clean energy plays role in deal

The UAE and Georgia have signed a comprehensive economic partnership agreement (Cepa) which aims to more than treble non-oil bilateral trade to $1.5 billion within five years.

The deal builds on growing economic relations that resulted in non-oil trade exceeding $225 million in the first half of 2023, up 28 percent on the year-earlier period. 

Total non-oil trade reached $481 million last year. The UAE now accounts for over 63 percent of Georgia’s trade with Arab countries.

The UAE is also Georgia’s sixth-largest global investor, representing 5 percent of its total foreign direct investment.

The UAE is increasingly turning to Cepa deals to boost foreign trade. Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, minister of state for foreign trade, said on Tuesday that the country is set to finalise further agreements with South Korea, Thailand, Chile, Costa Rica, Colombia and Ukraine by the end of the year.

Following the ratification process on both sides, the UAE-Georgia Cepa is expected to come into force early next year.

Through the removal or reduction of tariffs on 95 percent of product lines, the deal is set to accelerate capital flow into high-priority sectors such as tourism, retail, logistics and manufacturing.

“It is our key priority for us to strengthen relations with one of the leading states of the world,” Irakli Garibashvili, prime minister of Georgia, said.

“The UAE has always been at the avant-garde of innovations and progress, which is a significant precondition of future hope and optimism.”

Georgia, a former Soviet republic which has a population of 3.7 million, saw its GDP grow by 10 percent in 2022, underpinned by strong inflows of foreign direct investment, high volume of exports and the growth of the tourism and transportation sectors.

Suhail Bin Mohammed Al Mazrouei, minister of energy and infrastructure, pointed to the potential of clean energy to help drive trade with the UAE.

“Importantly, Georgia has a clear and proven commitment to renewable energy, which provides an opportunity for both capacity building and knowledge sharing,” he said.

“This opens the door to partnership opportunities as we look to scale our own commitment to alternative energy sources.”

Renewables contribute 85 percent of Georgia’s electricity generation, among the highest in the world. 

The UAE also views Georgia as offering opportunities to enhance its food security.

The Georgia Cepa is the sixth signed by the UAE, following previous deals with India, Indonesia, Israel, Turkey and Cambodia.