Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade, and Tengku Zafrul Aziz, Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry of Malaysia, have signed a joint statement on Tuesday. Image Credit: Twitter/@@ThaniAlZeyoudi

Abu Dhabi: UAE and Malaysia have signed a joint statement agreeing to launch negotiations to establish a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA).

The agreement was signed on the sidelines of the official visit of Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, to the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur.

“Non-oil trade between the UAE and Malaysia continues its upward trajectory over the past five years, reaching $4.6 billion in 2022, a growth of 5 per cent compared to 2021, and up 31 per cent and 18 per cent compared to 2020 and 2019, respectively,” said Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade.

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“Today, the UAE is Malaysia’s 17th  trade partner globally and the second in the Middle East, accounting for 32 per cent of Malaysia’s trade with Arab countries. The UAE is also the first destination for Malaysian merchandise exports to Arab countries, accounting for 40 per cent of its exports to the region. The other way, Malaysia ranks eighth globally for UAE exports and 19th in re-exports.”

The value of Malaysian investments in the UAE amount to $150 million across various sectors while UAE investments in Malaysia amount to more than $220 million, including more than $51 million in the industrial sector.

Al Zeyoudi stressed that the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement with Malaysia comes as part of the UAE’s plans to expand its network of trade partners with strategically important markets, noting that Malaysia is the fourth largest economy in the Southeast Asian region and that its economy continues to achieve record growth rates owing to the strong global demand for its electronics products in particular.

He also underscored that the agreement between the UAE and Malaysia will contribute to the consolidation of trade and investment relations between the two friendly countries, launching a new era of partnership that will accelerate opportunities for the business communities in the two countries, especially in priority sectors.

The negotiations with Malaysia are the latest under the UAE’s ambitious foreign trade agenda, which has so far seen the conclusion of four CEPAs with India, Israel, Indonesia and Turkey. Agreements with India and Israel have been entered into force, while those with Indonesia and Turkey are soon to be implemented.

Additional agreements with Georgia and Cambodia are also soon to be signed.