Vietnam, UAE Agree to Negotiate Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement
|The two sides at the meeting. Source: moit.gov.vn|
Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Hong Dien and Minister of State for Foreign Trade Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have signed a Ministerial Declaration on starting negotiations on a comprehensive economic partnership agreement (CEPA) between the two nations right after Vietnam completed its procedures.
The signing took place after a meeting between Dien and Al Zeyoudi during the Vietnamese minister's recent working visit to the UAE, according to VNA.
During the meeting, the Vietnamese official said the two countries can start their negotiations on CEPA after the draft terms of reference (TOR) of the agreement is agreed and approved by authorised agencies.
Dien spoke highly of opportunities that the CEPA can bring for both countries, in the context of Vietnam having become a manufacturing hub for many important commodities in the region and the world, while the UAE has many strengths as a transshipment port and financial and logistics centre. The combination of strengths of the two sides will create a momentum for growth in their trade and investment ties in the coming time, he said.
The minister affirmed that the UAE is Vietnam's largest trading partner in the Middle East - North Africa regions, noting that ample room remains for the two countries to tap the potential of their economies that have complementary strengths.
He suggested the two sides strengthen the exchange of all-level delegations and business delegations to explore cooperation opportunities, especially in the field of trade and investment.
Dien also proposed management agencies of Vietnam and the UAE study and promote the establishment of a cooperation mechanism for Halal certification to facilitate the trade in agricultural products between the two countries.
|The two sides sign a Ministerial Declaration on starting negotiations on a comprehensive economic partnership agreement (CEPA) at the meeting. Source: moit.gov.vn|
Agreeing with the proposals of the Vietnamese official, Al Zeyoudi said his country wishes to expand economic cooperation with Vietnam and always considers Vietnam its important economic partner.
The UAE's leaders have also given instructions on starting negotiations on the CEPA as soon as Vietnam completes procedures, he noted, adding not only the Ministry of Foreign Trade, but many ministries and sectors in charge of fields such as energy, industry, and logistics services of the UAE have all backed the negotiation, signing and implementation of the CEPA.
Also during the visit, Minister Dien held a meeting with the UAE's Minister of Energy and Infrastructure Suhail bin Mohammed Al Mazrouei.
|Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Hong Dien meets with the UAE's Minister of Energy and Infrastructure Suhail bin Mohammed Al Mazrouei. Photo: VNA|
Dien informed his host on Vietnam's wish to cooperate more closely with the UAE Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure in not only traditional energy, but also new and renewable energy development.
He proposed that the two sides sign a new MoU on energy cooperation, adding that Vietnam will create favourable conditions for UAE partners to cooperate with Vietnam in oil and gas exploitation. He suggested considering the possibility of investing in building a centre for transshipment and storage of crude oil and petrochemical products in Vietnam to provide for the Asian region.
Dien also asked the UAE side to study investment opportunities in power transmission infrastructure in Vietnam and support Vietnam in training human resources in this field.
Agreeing with Dien’s proposals, Al Mazrouei stressed that there is great potential for the two countries to step up their cooperation.
The UAE has been researching, negotiating and signing many FTAs with important partners like Vietnam, he said, adding that the UAE government hopes the two countries can sign an FTA this year.
The UAE wants to partner with Vietnam in the fields of power transmission, power generation, food security, healthcare, infrastructure, construction, and port management, the official said.
Vietnam and the UAE established diplomatic ties in 1993 and the two countries have maintained their fruitful cooperation.
According to the UAE statistics, the Vietnam – UAE trade turnover in 2022 topped USD 8.8 billion, an increase of over 35% from the previous year, making the UAE the largest trade partner of Vietnam in the Middle East.
The Vietnam Trade Office in the UAE said that industrial and agricultural production in the country is quite limited so it must import food and consumer goods to meet local needs. This presents an excellent opportunity for Vietnam to increase its exports to the market.
The number of tourists to the UAE this year is forecast to increase sharply, leading to rising demand for food and beverages, textiles, and footwear. This is a good opportunity for Vietnam to boost the export of these items.
In particular, Vietnam leads the world in exporting frozen pangasius and fillets to the UAE, with a market share of over 50%.
Vietnam also dominates the UAE and other Middle Eastern countries in exporting farm produce and fruit such as dragon fruit, watermelon, and lemons.
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