H.E. Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade, has welcomed an official delegation from South Korea to commence talks aimed at expanding trade and investment relations between the two nations.
H.E. Dr. Al Zeyoudi and H.E. Yeo Han-Koo, South Korean Minister for Trade, met to discuss the prospect of pursuing a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement between the UAE and South Korea to strengthen economic ties, enhance investment opportunities and mark a new era of bilateral cooperation with one of Asia’s most important markets.
The UAE has already started negotiations on two such deals, following the launch of talks with India and Indonesia in September. It underscores the country’s ambition to move fast by striking new trade agreements with high-growth markets in Africa and Asia under a clear social and economic strategy for the next 50 years.
“We are working around the clock to consolidate the UAE’s position as a global trade and logistics hub that connects the world to the broader region and beyond,” H.E. Dr. Al Zeyoudi said. “South Korea and the UAE are natural trade and investment partners with shared goals to deliver sustainable economic growth. Today’s intention to launch CEPA is a step forward in our vision for a mutually beneficial partnership that creates new jobs and investment opportunities. It reinforces our position as a gateway for goods and services that can flow through Africa, Asia and Europe under an economic blueprint for the next 50 years.”
“UAE is Korea’s Special Strategic Partner in the Middle East and our bilateral pursuit of a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement will upgrade our thriving bilateral partnership to the next level.” H.E. Yeo Han-Koo said. “The CEPA would serve as a leverage to further expand bilateral trade and investment. And it would intensify future-oriented cooperation between two countries and serve as a framework for achieving more concrete outcomes from our bilateral collaboration.”
The UAE is South Korea’s largest trading partner in the Arab world, with bilateral trade exchange valued at $9.4bn in 2020. Non-oil trade in the first six months of 2021 has grown to $2.1bn.
In recent years, foreign direct investment has focused on strategically important national industries, such as renewable and nuclear energy, hydrocarbons, healthcare and logistics.
Prominent projects include the $20bn Barakah Nuclear Power Plant in Abu Dhabi, with construction led by Korea Electric Power Corporation in a consortium that also includes Hyundai, Samsung, Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power and Doosan Heavy Industries and Construction.
Earlier this year, Mubadala was part of a consortium that acquired a majority stake in South Korean cosmetic pharmaceutical company Hugel for $1.5bn. While in 2020, South Korea’s NH Investment & Securities joined a group of asset management and sovereign wealth funds to invest $20.7bn in Abu Dhabi National Oil Company’s midstream assets.