Ukraine started negotiations with the United Arab Emirates on economic partnership
Ukraine and the United Arab Emirates are planning to conclude a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) by the middle of next year.
A joint statement of intent was signed by First Deputy Prime Minister of Economy Yuliya Sviridenko and UAE Minister of Foreign Trade Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, the Voice of America has reported.
Ukraine will become the first European country with which the UAE government will conclude a CEPA agreement, while the United Arab Emirates has tried to remain neutral since the outbreak of a full-scale war in Ukraine.
Currently, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade Tani Al Zeyoudi told Reuters in a commentary:
"For us, Ukraine is a key trading partner. Growth and investment potential has been high throughout the geopolitical situation; we believe it is time to move forward.
He also said the agreement "opens up a number of new opportunities for our exporters, investors and producers, as well as providing access to new markets in Asia, Africa and the Middle East for agricultural and industrial products from Ukraine.
Ukrainian Economy Minister Yulia Sviridenko said the agreement would provide new opportunities for both states.
Ukraine is known for its role as a global guarantor of food security and a fast-growing IT hub, so CEPA will make our economies complementary and we look forward to working together to promote trade, digital economy and facilitate our investment cooperation," the Ukrainian Economy Ministry quoted the minister as saying.
According to the Ministry of Economy, bilateral trade in goods and services between Ukraine and the UAE amounted to $1.147 billion in 2021. In addition, UAE investments in the Ukrainian economy last year amounted to over $243 million.
Ukraine is one of the largest suppliers of grain in the world, observers believe the talks between Kiev and Abu Dhabi will focus on opportunities to expand trade in services and food security.
Earlier this year, the UAE signed free trade agreements with India, Israel and Indonesia, thus strengthening the Middle Eastern country's position as a global trade and logistics hub amid growing competition from Saudi Arabia.
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