The United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Cambodia have signed a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), which is expected to double non-oil bilateral trade from US$407 million in 2022 to US$1 billion within the next five years.
Witnessed by Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen, CEPA was signed in Phnom Penh by Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade, and Pan Sorasak, Cambodia Minister of Commerce.
CEPA seeks to eliminate or reduce customs duties, remove unnecessary trade barriers, facilitate investments, open market access to services exports, and create more opportunities for businesses to forge new partnerships. The signing CEPA lays the foundations for a deeper and more meaningful partnership that will drive growth and help the global economic recovery.
It builds on the strong bilateral trade ties between the UAE and Cambodia, which reached a record US$407 million in 2022, marking a 33% increase from 2021 and a 28% surge compared to 2019. The UAE is also a top trading partner for Cambodia in the Arab world, accounting for 70% of its trade with the region in 2022.
CEPA holds significant potential for mutual investments, providing opportunities for the business communities to enter into investment partnerships. Currently, the UAE invests over US$3 million in Cambodia, compared to US$1 million in direct foreign investment from Cambodia. However, a wide range of opportunities for investment in tourism, logistics, infrastructure and renewable energy are anticipated with the agreement’s implementation.
Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi said: “The UAE-Cambodia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement is a new milestone in our foreign trade agenda that strengthens our growing role in the east-west trade corridor.
It will not only contribute to our goal of doubling non-oil foreign trade by 2031 but also expand our presence in the rapidly growing economies of South-East Asia, opening new doors for exporters to reach millions of consumers.
Cambodia will also benefit from our global connectivity and ability to re-export goods to more than 400 cities around the world. We will continue to expand global trade to foster long-term, sustainable growth and economic diversification with all whom we do business with.”
CEPA guarantees improved access for UAE products to the Cambodian market, covering 92% of customs tariff lines and over 93% of the value of non-oil trade. Furthermore, the agreement also opens up various service sectors in the Cambodian market for UAE businesses.
CEPA sets the stage for a new chapter in trade and investment cooperation between the UAE and Cambodia, fostering joint growth for their respective business communities. With the talks concluded swiftly, it underscores the global confidence in the UAE as a reliable trade and investment partner for countries seeking sustainable economic expansion.
Now the deal has been signed, both countries will complete the necessary requirements and internal legal procedures for ratification. The UAE-Cambodia CEPA is expected to enter into force before Q4 this year.