Dignitaries pose a group photo after the signing ceremony.
Gulf Today, Staff Reporter
The UAE-Israel Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement, which was signed on May 31, 2022, will come into effect on April 1, 2023. This means that tariffs will be removed or reduced on more than 96 percent of product lines, which covers 99 percent of the current value of traded goods between the UAE and Israel.
The UAE-Israel CEPA is now the second of the UAE’s new foreign-trade deals to be ratified following the successful roll out of the UAE-India CEPA in May 2022. In addition to the new tariff structures, the agreement with Israel removes unnecessary barriers to trade, improves market access for services suppliers, opens opportunities in government procurement, provides a platform for SMEs to expand internationally, establishes parameters for digital trade, protects intellectual property, and creates transparent trade remedy mechanisms.
The CEPA is designed to push UAE-Israel non-oil bilateral trade from the US$1.3 billion recorded in 2021 to US$10 billion by the end of the decade. In 2022, bilateral non-oil trade reached US$2.49 billion, a 90 percent increase on 2021’s total, with re-exports from Israel growing 71.2 percent and non-oil exports to Israel climbing 48.6 percent.
The full details of the new tariff structures, rules of origin eligibility, as well as information market access conditions for services suppliers, is now available on the Ministry of Economy’s website.
The UAE-Israel CEPA is a part of the UAE’s new trade agenda and efforts to double the size of economy from Dhs1.4 trillion to Dhs3 trillion by 2030. The UAE has now concluded CEPAs with India, Israel, Indonesia, Türkiye and Georgia.
Meanwhile, Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade, and Manuel Tovar Rivera, Minister of Foreign Trade of the Republic of Costa Rica, signed a joint statement marking the launch of preliminary talks to establish a comprehensive economic partnership agreement (CEPA) between the two countries. The signing took pace during the visit of a high-level Costa Rican delegation to the Ministry of Economy’s headquarters in Dubai.
Al Zeyoudi said: “Today, through the launch of preliminary CEPA negotiations, we have laid the foundations for building a significant and influential platform to future-proof UAE-Costa Rica economic and trade relations. This agreement will contribute to establishing a new era of investment and trade in various fields, thereby supporting the sustainable economic development of both our nations and benefitting regional and global economies.”
He added: “Costa Rica is a key strategic partner of the UAE in the Central American region. The launch of preliminary CEPA negotiations reflects the two governments’ shared aspirations to promote bilateral economic relations, boost investment and trade exchanges, expedite the flow of goods, facilitate market access and create new joint investments and projects in priority sectors.”
“The trade and investment exchanges between the two countries continue to grow as the non-oil trade reached Dhs 216 million ($58.7 million) in 2022 with a 19 per cent growth compared to that of 2021,” he added.
The UAE’s investments in Costa Rica span sectors such as IT, tourism, retail, advertising, media, real estate, renewable energy, air transport, and logistics.
Al Zeyoudi emphasized that the UAE is keen to expand its network of trade partners and strengthen existing ties with them. He added that the UAE will continue its efforts to build partnerships with strategic global markets under the country’s comprehensive economic partnerships program. This is in line with the ‘We the UAE vision 2031’ that aims to double the national economy from Dhs 1.49 trillion to Dhs 3 trillion, increase national non-oil exports to Dhs 800 billion, and raise the value of the UAE’s foreign trade to Dhs 4 trillion by the year 2031.
Meanwhile, Manuel Tovar Rivera, Minister of Foreign Trade for Costa Rica, said: “Costa Rica is also pursuing an ambitious agenda to expand and diversify our global trade and investment partnerships. The establishment of a CEPA with the UAE will be the beginning of a new era of mutually beneficial relations. This will be our first free trade agreement with a country in the Middle East and Costa Rica will continue to rise in prominence as a key Latin American partner to the UAE. The creation of new trade and investment opportunities will also bring economic and social benefits for the people of both countries.”
The comprehensive economic partnerships program was launched by the UAE government in September 2021 with the aim of expanding the trade and investment partnership with a number of strategic global markets, increase the size of trade exchanges, and enhance growth opportunities for the national exports. Through this program, the UAE has signed four agreements so far – with India, Israel, Indonesia, and Turkey – and the upcoming period will see the signing of more agreements with other countries. As a result of these efforts, the UAE’s non-oil foreign trade achieved an unprecedented growth and crossed the Dhs 2 trillion mark for the first time in history in 2022, up 17 per cent from 2021.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Economy recently held a media briefing session to highlight its sustained efforts in the field of customer protection all-round the year, and especially during the holy month of Ramadan. The session was led by Abdullah Sultan Al Fan Al Shamsi, Assistant Undersecretary for the Monitoring and Follow Up Sector at the Ministry of Economy.
Al Shamsi emphasized that the UAE has a strong customer protection framework that upholds and ensures consumer rights and regulates markets to contribute to their stability and prosperity. It ensures the right balance between the rights of merchants and consumers in the country’s markets.
The media briefing shed light on the key initiatives undertaken by the Ministry in collaboration with its partners in the field of consumer protection.
Al Shamsi said: “The Ministry of Economy works alongside our federal and local government partners, especially the Supreme Committee for Consumer Protection, and communicates and coordinates with the cooperatives, the private sector and stakeholders in order to continuously develop the UAE’s consumer protection policies. Through these collective efforts, we set the necessary mechanisms and implement initiatives that guarantee their rights in accordance with the highest global standards and in line with the UAE’s Federal Law No. 15 of 2020 on Consumer Protection.”