UAE, Colombia finalise terms of Economic Partnership Agreement
December 02, 2023 / 4:49 PM
Sharjah 24 – WAM: Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, and German Umaña, Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism for Colombia, have finalised the terms of a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) between the two nations.
The conclusion of negotiations was confirmed by the signing of a joint statement in the UAE by the ministers, paving the way for the first bilateral trade deal between the Gulf and South America.
Once implemented, the CEPA with Colombia will remove or reduce tariffs on the majority of product lines, eliminate unnecessary barriers to trade, improve market access, and deepen collaboration across energy, environment, digital trade, financial services, telecommunications, hospitality, tourism, infrastructure, agriculture and food production.
Commenting on the agreement, Al Zeyoudi said, “Colombia is the fourth-largest economy in South America, a major exporter of coffee and a gateway for UAE-based companies to access the enormous benefits offered by the region. This deal provides a significant boost to business and friendship between our nations and we are excited about the benefits it will bring. With the CEPA in place, our private sectors will benefit from a new bridge to South America and the Middle East – dynamic markets home to more than 800 million consumers.
“The CEPA model is central to our efforts to double the UAE’s GDP in the next decade. And as we continue to build a resilient and highly diversified knowledge-driven economy, forging stronger trade and investment ties with major partners, such as Colombia, is a key pillar of this strategy,” he added.
German Umaña said, “We are pleased to announce the successful conclusion of the CEPA negotiations. This agreement represents a balanced outcome that benefits both nations, fostering the exchange of goods and services while acknowledging the importance of high-level environmental standards, reinforcing respect for biodiversity, and prioritising the protection of natural habitats and conservation areas.”
Diplomatic relations between UAE and Colombia officially began in 1976, with the inauguration of embassies in 2011 and 2012. This has seen bilateral trade reach an all-time high. Non-oil trade with Colombia exceeded US$380 million in 2022, and in the first half of 2023, non-oil bilateral trade climbed 120 percent compared to the same period in 2022.