Dubai: Senior ministers from the UAE and Ukraine signed a joint statement on Monday announcing their intention to initiate negotiations towards a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA).
Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, and Yulia Svyrydenko, First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy of Ukraine, affirmed the commitment of both countries to strengthen bilateral economic ties and build on their strong bilateral trade and investment flows.
In 2021, non-oil trade between the UAE and Ukraine reached $904.4 million, a 28.4 per cent increase over the same period in 2020 and 12.2 percent more than 2019. UAE investment in Ukraine reached nearly $243.3 million in 2021, with Ukrainian investment flows into the UAE totalling $84 million in 2020.
The announcement of CEPA negotiations follows the more than $3 billion in trade and investment pledges made during Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s visit to the UAE in February 2021. It also represents another key component in the UAE’s efforts to help re-invigorate the national economy of Ukraine, which is one of the Middle East’s most important sources of grains such as barley and wheat.
Dr. Al Zeyoudi said that the UAE’s first CEPA with a European nation demonstrates the breadth of its new foreign trade agenda and underlines Ukraine’s long-term significance to the UAE as a trade and investment partner.
“A CEPA with Ukraine offers a raft of new opportunities for our exporters, investors, and manufacturers while also opening up access to new markets in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East for Ukraine’s agricultural and industrial output. We are committed to negotiating a mutually beneficial deal that can not only help drive Ukraine’s economic recovery but also foster long-term growth and opportunity,” Al Zeyoudi stated.
Yulia Svyrydenko added: “Concluding CEPA between Ukraine and the UAE will unlock the full potential of our cooperation in trade and investment, helping our business communities to grow and take advantage of the new opportunities. The UAE has earned a well-deserved reputation as a prominent international trade and logistics hub. At the same time, Ukraine is known for its role as a global food security guarantor and a growing IT powerhouse. That makes our economies complementary, and we look forward to working together on promoting trade, the digital economy, as well as facilitating our investment cooperation.”
The UAE’s CEPA negotiations with Ukraine will commence in the coming weeks and follow the conclusion of CEPAs with India, Indonesia, and Israel. CEPA negotiations with Turkey, Georgia, and Cambodia are ongoing.
The UAE’s CEPA agenda is part of its national strategy to help the nation double the size of its economy from Dh1.4 trillion to Dh3 trillion by 2030.