Dubai: The UAE is aiming for a comprehensive trade agreement with South Korea, which is already one of its key partners in South Asia.
The UAE has already started negotiations on two other countries – India and Indonesia.
“Today’s intention to launch a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement is a step forward in our vision for a mutually beneficial partnership that creates new jobs and investment opportunities,” said Dr. Thani Bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade. “It [the deal] reinforces our position as a gateway for goods and services that can flow through Africa, Asia and Europe under an economic blueprint for the next 50 years.”
The UAE is South Korea’s largest trading partner in the Arab world, with bilateral trade exchange valued at $9.4 billion in 2020. Non-oil trade in the first-six months of 2021 has grown to $2.1billion.
“The CEPA would serve as a leverage to further expand bilateral trade and investment,” said the South Korean Trade Minister Yeo Han-Koo. “And it would intensify future-oriented cooperation between two countries and serve as a framework for achieving more concrete outcomes from our bilateral collaboration.”
In recent years, foreign direct investment has focused on strategically important industries, such as renewable and nuclear energy, hydrocarbons, healthcare and logistics.
Prominent projects include the $20 billion Barakah Nuclear Power Plant in Abu Dhabi, with construction led by Korea Electric Power Corporation in a consortium that includes Hyundai, Samsung, Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power and Doosan Heavy Industries and Construction.
Earlier this year, Mubadala was part of a consortium that acquired a majority stake in South Korean cosmetic pharmaceutical company Hugel for $1.5 billion. In 2020, South Korea’s NH Investment & Securities joined a group of asset management and sovereign wealth funds to invest $20.7 billion in ADNOC’s midstream assets.