UAE and Vietnam Agree Mutual Declaration of Intent To Launch CEPA Negotiations


A joint declaration of intent to begin negotiations on a comprehensive economic partnership agreement (CEPA) between the UAE and Vietnam was signed. During a visit by a Vietnamese team to the UAE, Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, and Nguyen Hong Dien, Minister of Industry and Commerce, signed the proclamation.

Al Zeyoudi emphasised the strong and stable bilateral ties between the UAE and Vietnam, which continue to expand in all aspects, particularly commerce and the economy, during his meeting with the Vietnamese minister. Both governments shared the desire to take the current trade and economic links to new heights, which led to the beginning of CEPA discussions.

Al Zeyoudi said, "The UAE is Vietnam's number one Arab trade partner, accounting for 39 per cent of its total trade with the Arab countries. The volume of non-oil trade between the two sides reached Dhs29.4 billion (around $8 billion) in 2022. The trade in goods other than mobile phones and their accessories, which grew to 46 per cent from less than 36 per cent in 2019, is promising. It totalled Dhs13.5 billion (over $3.5 billion) last year, up 9 per cent from 2021, and with a 34 and 26 per cent growth from 2020 and 2019 respectively."

He added, "We look forward to strengthening our economic and trade partnerships through the UAE's global economic partnerships programme, especially since Vietnam is our largest trade partner in the ASEAN as of 2022. We are pleased to begin the process towards signing a CEPA. The agreement will boost economic and trade cooperation in unprecedented ways, support the private sector's access to both markets, and drive new investment opportunities, which will result in a higher volume of trade exchanges."

As the CEPA process moves forward, both parties discussed fostering collaborative engagement in the areas of trade, investment, economy, industry, energy, logistics, agriculture, and infrastructure. Al Zeyoudi emphasised the UAE's accomplishment in developing an environment full of enticing investment prospects across a range of sectors during the conference. He pointed out that the UAE's position as a major international hub for commerce and investment has been strengthened by the thorough development of its economic legislation, which allowed for complete foreign ownership of businesses and considerably improved the convenience of doing business.

Al Zeyoudi also invited the Vietnamese private sector to benefit from the UAE's NextGenFDI project, which provides participants with a variety of incentives. Included in these are relocation assistance, simple access to bank financing, commercial and residential leasing incentives, and accelerated business setup and issuance of licences, visas, and golden visas, which provide a faster market entry procedure for management and staff.

Vietnam's Minister of Trade Nguyen Hong Dien said there was huge "potential and opportunities from the agreement for both countries. The UAE has strengths as a trans-shipment, financial and logistics centre, while Vietnam is also becoming a factory for many crucial, global industries".

"The combination of the two countries' competitive advantage will create momentum for trade and investment growth in the near future," he said. The Minister announced that Vietnam had completed a feasibility study on a future agreement, which they viewed as important preparation ahead of deciding on the start of negotiations. He said that Vietnam also appreciated the technical teams' timely discussions on the draft Terms of Reference (TOR) of this agreement, which means that the two sides can start on the substantive negotiation phase immediately after the negotiating mandate is approved by the Leaders.

The UAE's investments in Vietnam total Dhs260 million ($71 million). Leading UAE companies with investments in the Vietnamese market include DP World, Emirates Investment Authority, Mubadala, and Borouge.

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