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Dubai opens Vietnam office as South East Asia trade grows

A coffee farmer inspects berries at a plantation in Vietnam's central highland province of Lam Dong. Dubai Chambers has identified coffee as a key export sector Reuters/Kham
A coffee farmer inspects berries at a plantation in Vietnam's central highland province of Lam Dong. Dubai Chambers has identified coffee as a key export sector
  • Office in Ho Chi Minh City is the 22nd in Dubai Chambers’ network
  • UAE-Vietnam trade forecast to grow by more than 7% a year
  • First round of talks for a Cepa between the two took place in June

Dubai International Chamber has opened a representative office in Ho Chi Minh City, as analysts predict Vietnam will be one of the UAE’s fastest-growing trade corridors in the next few years.

The office will support Dubai companies seeking to expand in the Southeast Asian country and create mechanisms to attract foreign direct investment from Vietnam, according to umbrella organisation Dubai Chambers.

The UAE and Vietnam started negotiations for a comprehensive economic partnership agreement (Cepa) in June.

Vietnam is set to be a key growth market for UAE imports and exports in the next few years, according to the Future of Trade 2030 report by Standard Chartered.

The bank estimates that exports will grow by more than 7 percent each year to reach AED2.2 billion ($600 million) by 2030, while imports are forecast to grow by 7.4 percent to hit $9 billion.

Non-oil trade between the UAE and Vietnam totalled $8.7 billion in 2022. Dubai accounted for $7.7 billion, according to Dubai Customs statistics. A total of 170 Vietnamese companies were registered as members of Dubai Chambers as of the end of May.

Dr Bader Abdullah Al Matrooshi, the UAE's ambassador to Vietnam, said at the launch: “Trade figures between the two countries and other key indicators reveal promising opportunities for growth in trade and investments.”

Dubai Chambers has identified coffee, tropical fruit and furniture as Vietnamese exports that have high potential for growth.

It sees agribusiness, construction, ecotourism, food processing and renewable energy as sectors that could drive further investment in Vietnam.

Last year, electronics, footwear and machinery topped the list of goods exported from Vietnam to Dubai. Products imported from Dubai include tobacco, animal fodder and aluminium. 

Dubai Chambers now has 22 representative offices across the Middle East, Africa, Eurasia, China, India and Latin America. Under the Dubai Global initiative launched by the emirate's crown prince, Sheikh Hamdan, the organisation aims to have a network of 50 offices by 2030.

The UAE is accelerating efforts to strengthen economic ties across the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), a 10-nation bloc that includes Vietnam.

Last month it signed a Cepa with Cambodia that aims to more than double non-oil bilateral trade from $407 million in 2022 to $1 billion within five years.

Similar talks have been launched with Asean members Thailand and Malaysia.

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