UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade Thani al-Zeyoudi and Malaysian Minister of Investment, Trade, and Industry Tengku Zafrul Aziz have signed a joint statement agreeing to launch negotiations to establish a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA).
Zeyoudi underlined on Tuesday the developing relations between the UAE and Malaysia, stating that the negotiations have built upon solid growth in bilateral trade and investment over recent years, which witnessed a positive development in various areas of cooperation.
Non-oil trade between the UAE and Malaysia continued its upward trajectory over the past five years, reaching $4.6 billion in 2022, a growth of five percent compared to 2021 and up 31 percent and 18 percent compared to 2020 and 2019, respectively.
The UAE is Malaysia's 17th trade partner globally and the second in the Middle East, accounting for 32 percent of Malaysia's trade with Arab countries.
"The UAE is also the first destination for Malaysian merchandise exports to Arab countries, accounting for 40 percent of its exports to the region. The other way, Malaysia ranks eighth globally for UAE exports and 19th in re-exports," said the Minister.
Zeyoudi highlighted that the value of Malaysian investments in the UAE amount to $150 million across sectors of industry, building and construction, real estate, trade, transport, storage, financial activities, insurance, and professional and technical activities.
UAE investments in Malaysia amount to more than $220 million, including more than $51 million in the industrial sector.
He stressed that the CEPA with Malaysia comes as part of the UAE's plans to expand its network of trade partners with strategically essential markets, noting that Malaysia is the fourth largest economy in the Southeast Asian region.
The CEPA agreement will contribute to the consolidation of trade and investment relations between the two countries, launching a new era of partnership that will accelerate opportunities for the business communities in the two countries, especially in priority sectors, said the Emirati Minister.
The Malaysian Minister indicated that with the start of negotiations for the Malaysia-UAE CEPA, Kuala Lumpur is committed to enhancing the longstanding economic partnership with the UAE.
He explained that the agreement would set the stage for a comprehensive and mutually beneficial economic framework to forge stronger strategic collaborations, foster innovation, spur economic growth, and create job opportunities for both nations.
The negotiations with Malaysia are the latest under the UAE's ambitious foreign trade agenda, which has seen the conclusion of four CEPAs with India, Israel, Indonesia, and Turkey.