UAE, New Zealand enter preliminary talks on CEPA

The UAE and New Zealand have entered preliminary discussions to establish a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) , as the two nations explore deeper economic collaboration.

During a meeting with a delegation of New Zealand’s leading trade officials, Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade commended the strong relations shared by the two countries.

Al Zeyoudi reaffirmed the common vision between the UAE and New Zealand to enhance cooperation across key sectors such as agriculture, renewable energy, and healthcare.

The two countries already share a productive trade relationship, with non-oil trade reaching $805m in 2022, a 7 per cent growth compared to 2021 and a 23 per cent increase from 2020.

As of 2022, the UAE is New Zealand’s leading trading partner in the Arab World, accounting for 2.5 per cent of the southwestern Pacific Ocean nation’s total foreign trade.

The free trade pact between the UAE and New Zealand is expected to significantly boost these figures. “New Zealand is a valued partner for the UAE in the Oceania region and a nation that shares our firm belief in open, rules-based trade as a catalyst for sustainable economic growth,” said Al Zeyoudi.

“As we seek to expand our network of trading partners, exploring a potential Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement demonstrates our commitment to delivering new markets and new opportunities for our private sector.” Keywords: CEPA, UAE, Free trade, Israel, India 

Trade talks between the two nations follow the recent visit to New Zealand by Reem bint Ibrahim Al Hashemy, Minister of State for International Cooperation.

It also follows the signing of several bilateral agreements, including an MoU between the Etihad Credit Export Insurance and the New Zealand Export Credit Agency on securing export credit.

“These exploratory discussions are an important first step toward a trade agreement with the UAE, one of our key export destinations in the region and a valued bilateral partner for New Zealand,” said Damien O’Connor, New Zealand’s Minister of Trade and Export Growth.

UAE expands its trade network

Meanwhile, the UAE has signed its free trade pact with Türkiye and Indonesia into effect, removing or reducing tariffs on a vast array of goods, eliminating unnecessary trade barriers, and establishing pathways for investment into priority sectors such as travel and tourism.

The free trade agreements with the two nations are now the third and fourth to come into force, following on from the successful roll-out of CEPAs with India and Israel, which were implemented in May 2022 and April 2023, respectively.

The UAE is currently in talks with more markets of strategic importance at the regional and global levels to establish similar agreements. The Gulf state agreed to start preliminary negotiations on a bilateral trade deal with Costa Rica, Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam.

The Emirates also seeks to bolster its bilateral economic relations with South Africa, Poland and Italy while boosting investment opportunities in key sectors including renewable energy, tourism and finance.