Image courtesy: WAM
The UAE has completed bilateral trade negotiations with Congo-Brazzaville, the second Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) agreement with an African state in a week.
The trade agreement, which is expected to facilitate trade and investment flows between the two nations, was confirmed by the signing of a joint statement by Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Trade, and Jean-Baptiste Ondaye, Congo-Brazzaville’s Minister of Economy and Finance.
The CEPA agreement will reduce or remove unnecessary trade barriers, facilitate investments, open market access to services exports, and create more opportunities for businesses to forge new partnerships.
The trade deal builds on the growing bilateral cooperation between the UAE and Congo-Brazzaville, which saw non-oil trade surging by 134 per cent to reach $2.1bn in the first half of 2023 compared to the same period a year ago.
It follows the signing of three strategic agreements between the two earlier this year including a double taxation avoidance agreement, an investment promotion and protection agreement, and an air transport agreement.
The breadth of the #UAE‘s trade network continues to broaden as we conclude negotiations toward a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement with the Republic of Congo-Brazzaville 🇦🇪🇨🇬 – a thriving economy in West-Central Africa and valued trade and investment partner. pic.twitter.com/OD56Yoij4m
— د. ثاني أحمد الزيودي (@ThaniAlZeyoudi) December 28, 2023
“The breadth of the UAE’s trade network continues to broaden as we conclude negotiations toward a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement with Congo-Brazzaville – a thriving economy in West-Central Africa and valued trade and investment partner,” Dr. Al Zeyoudi posted on X, formerly Twitter.
He said Congo-Brazzaville offers an important trade destination and gateway to wider Africa for UAE exporters, while in return the Emirates offers a vital connection to Gulf and Asian markets.
Congo-Brazzaville is the 12th largest trading partner of the UAE among non-Arab African countries, with the UAE ranking eighth-largest export market for Congo-Brazzaville and 13th largest import market.
The UAE accounts for about 72 per cent of Congo-Brazzaville’s non-oil trade with Arab countries.
The total value of non-oil trade between the UAE and Congo-Brazzaville reached approximately $2.2bn in 2022, a 5 per cent increase compared to 2021 and a growth of 29 per cent compared to 2020.
UAE expands CEPA agreements
Meanwhile, the UAE has initiated a raft of bilateral trade, investment and cooperation deals since 2021 to bolster efforts aimed at diversifying income sources and economic sectors.
Last week, the Gulf state completed talks for a CEPA deal with Mauritius, its first with an African country.
Once implemented, the agreement is expected to boost growth in non-oil bilateral trade between the two countries, which in H1 2023 stood at $63.1m with opportunities strongest in the chemicals, metals and petroleum products sectors.
The UAE has so far ratified four CEPAs with India, Israel, Indonesia and Turkey. The Gulf state is currently in CEPA negotiations with more markets of strategic importance at the regional and global levels to establish similar agreements.
The World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) Global Trade Outlook and Statistics Report 2022 ranked the UAE 11th in terms of exports of commodities and the 18th importer of global merchandise goods trade worldwide.
The country’s trade in goods with the rest of the world hit $1.02tn in 2022 as the share of both exports and imports increased on the back of higher crude oil prices.