UAE, Serbia in talks to establish CEPA
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UAE, Serbia in talks to establish CEPA

UAE, Serbia in talks to establish CEPA

The UAE is the third-largest market for Serbian exports, with non-oil trade between the two countries in H1 2023 hitting $57.6m

Gulf Business
UAE and Serbia in talks to establish CEPA _ Image courtesy WAM

The UAE and Serbia have launched talks towards establishing a comprehensive economic partnership agreement (CEPA).

Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, and Tomislav Momirovic, Serbia’s Minister of Internal and Foreign Trade, attended the first round of talks, which took place in Dubai, state news agency WAM reported.

These talks reflect growing relations between the two nations. In H1 2023, bilateral non-oil trade reached $57.6m, crossing the figure recorded in 2020.

The UAE is a key market for Serbian goods

The UAE is now the third-largest market for Serbian exports in the Middle East, while FDI has been flowing into a number of high-priority sectors including agriculture, food security, real estate, infrastructure, and logistics.

The negotiations also follow a series of high-level meetings, including the visit in June of President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan to Belgrade, when he was received by Serbian President, Aleksandar Vucic.

The visit resulted in several agreements designed to expand cooperation in sectors such as renewable energy, agriculture, food security, technology, and artificial intelligence.

Dr Al Zeyoudi said the UAE is growing its trading partners globally, as it follows its target of hitting Dhs4tn in foreign trade by 2031.

The UAE leadership considers trade as one of the most important catalysts for growth, economic diversification and long term, sustainable development.

“The launch of the negotiations is an important milestone in the relations between the two countries. Serbia is an emerging economy in an increasingly important part of Europe, with strategic links to many vital markets in the Balkans and Eastern Europe, while the UAE can serve as Serbia’s gateway to markets in the Middle East, Asia and Africa. The CEPA will not only improve access to these global supply chains but enable our private sectors to build long-term partnerships and explore new investment opportunities,” Dr Al Zeyoudi said.

Minister Momirović said that the economic relations between the two nations are based on solid foundations reflected in projects such as Belgrade on the Water development, and investments by major Emirati companies such as Al Dahra and DP World, which is developing the port of Novi Sad, WAM reported.

“Serbia is committed to supporting and stimulating the private sector and attracting new foreign investments to the country. A CEPA with the UAE will encourage these trends and create many opportunities for both sides,” he added.

How the UAE-Serbia CEPA will boost trade

A CEPA between the countries will enhance bilateral non-oil trade by reducing or remove customs duties, eliminating hurdles to trade, protecting IP rights, supporting SMEs, and enabling mutual investment flows.

It also aims to build further cooperation in areas such as aviation, agriculture, construction, contracting, real estate and defence, among others.

The UAE has CEPAs in place with India, Indonesia, Israel, Türkiye, Cambodia and Georgia.

In other news, in September, the UAE and New Zealand entered preliminary discussions to establish CEPA, as the two nations explore deeper economic collaboration.

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