ABU DHABI, 6th April, 2023 (WAM) -- The UAE and Vietnam signed a joint declaration of intent to launch talks on establishing a comprehensive economic partnership agreement (CEPA) between the two countries. The declaration was signed by Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade; and Nguyn Hng Din, Vietnamese Minister of Industry and Trade, during a visit by a Vietnamese delegation to the UAE.
During his meeting with the Vietnamese minister, Al Zeyoudi underlined the strong and solid bilateral relations between the UAE and Vietnam, which continue to grow in all fields, particularly trade and the economy. The launch of CEPA negotiations is the result of a shared aspiration on the part of both governments to elevate the existing trade and economic ties to new heights.
Al Zeyoudi said, "The UAE is Vietnam's number one Arab trade partner, accounting for 39 percent of its total trade with the Arab countries. The volume of non-oil trade between the two sides reached AED 29.4 billion (around US$8 billion) in 2022. The trade in goods other than mobile phones and their accessories, which grew to 46 percent from less than 36 percent in 2019, is promising. It totalled AED 13.5 billion (over US$3.5 billion) last year, up 9 percent from 2021, and with a 34 and 26 percent growth from 2020 and 2019 respectively."
He added, "We look forward to strengthening our economic and trade partnerships through the UAE's global economic partnerships programme, especially since Vietnam is our largest trade partner in the ASEAN as of 2022. We are pleased to begin the process towards signing a CEPA. The agreement will boost economic and trade cooperation in unprecedented ways, support the private sector's access to both markets, and drive new investment opportunities, which will result in a higher volume of trade exchanges."
Both sides addressed promoting joint collaboration in the fields of trade, investment, economy, industry, energy, logistics, agriculture, and infrastructure as the CEPA process unfolds. During the meeting, Al Zeyoudi highlighted the UAE's success in creating an environment rich with promising investment opportunities in various sectors. The comprehensive development of the UAE's economic legislation, which enabled full foreign ownership of companies and significantly enhanced the ease of doing business, has reinforced the country's position as a global hub for trade and investment, he noted.
Furthermore, Al Zeyoudi urged the Vietnamese private sector to take advantage of the UAE's NextGenFDI initiative, which offers a wide array of incentives to participants. These include relocation support; easy access to bank financing and commercial and residential rental incentives; and expedited business set up process and issuance of licences, visas, and golden visas, which ensure a smoother market entry process for management and employees.
Vietnam's Minister of Trade Nguyen Hong Dien said there was huge "potential and opportunities from the agreement for both countries. The UAE has strengths as a trans-shipment, financial and logistics centre, while Vietnam is also becoming a factory for many crucial, global industries".
"The combination of the two countries' competitive advantage will create momentum for trade and investment growth in the near future," he said. The Minister announced that Vietnam had completed a feasibility study on a future agreement, which they viewed as important preparation ahead of deciding on the start of negotiations. He said that Vietnam also appreciated the technical teams' timely discussions on the draft Terms of Reference (TOR) of this agreement, which means that the two sides can start on the substantive negotiation phase immediately after the negotiating mandate is approved by the Leaders.
The UAE's investments in Vietnam total AED 260 million (US$71 million). Leading UAE companies with investments in the Vietnamese market include DP World, Emirates Investment Authority, Mubadala, and Borouge.