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UAE prepares for ‘new era’ in Ukraine with trade deal

UAE Ukraine cepa Yulia Svyrydenko, Ukraine’s minister of economic development and trade, and Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, the UAE’s minister of state for foreign trade, sign the deal between the two countries Wam
Ukraine’s minister of economic development and trade Yulia Svyrydenko and Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, the UAE’s minister of state for foreign trade, sign the deal
  • Cepa looks to end of war with Russia
  • Deal hailed as ‘historic milestone’
  • Building on $386m non-oil trade in 2023

The UAE has finalised the terms of a trade deal with Ukraine, as the Gulf state looks to become a key player in rebuilding the country once its war with Russia is over.

The comprehensive economic partnership agreement (Cepa) aims to build on the $386 million bilateral non-oil trade between the two countries last year.

Joint foreign direct investment stood at $360 million by the end of 2022 across logistics and infrastructure, travel and tourism, and advanced technology.



Once implemented, the deal will remove or reduce tariffs on imported goods, remove barriers to trade and promote fair market access to exporters from both sides.

The deal will also support the rebuilding of industries and infrastructure in Ukraine, while helping to strengthen supply chains to the Middle East for the country’s main exports, such as grains, machinery and metals.

Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, the UAE’s minister of state for foreign trade, described Ukraine as an important ally in its food security imports. 

He said the Cepa deal would unlock new investment opportunities in sectors such as logistics, manufacturing and IT.

“The agreement will play an active role in the revitalisation of the Ukrainian economy and we look forward toward the ratification of the deal and the new opportunities it will create for the business communities on both sides,” Al Zeyoudi said.

Yulia Svyrydenko, Ukraine’s first deputy prime minister and minister of economic development and trade, said the deal marked a “historic milestone” in bilateral relations. 

The Ukraine deal is the 15th Cepa that has either already entered into force, been formally signed, or has been successfully negotiated in the UAE’s efforts to raise the value of its non-oil foreign trade to AED4 trillion by 2031.

While the Ukrainian economy has been deeply hit by the war with Russia, which began in early 2022, the UAE is positioning itself for  the future.

“We want to be ready for the next era of Ukraine,” Al Zeyoudi told Reuters.

UAE-Ukraine trade highlights
  • In February, the UAE dispatched a plane loaded with 55 tonnes of relief and medical supplies, including 360 portable electric generators, 5,000 laptops, winter clothes, blankets, and medical aid to Ukraine.
  • Arcera, a global life sciences company launched by the Abu Dhabi-based wealth fund ADQ earlier this month, has a manufacturing and packaging base in Ukraine.
  • Dubai Multi-Commodities Centre is home to more than 200 Ukrainian companies, with the number setting up in the city rising by a quarter in 2022-23.
  • The Ukrainian poultry business MHP announced an agreement last year to open a greenfield hatchery in Saudi Arabia to produce up to 108 million eggs a year.

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