South Korea, UAE sign historic CEPA

The CEPA with UAE marks Republic of Korea’s first free trade pact with an Arab country….reports Asian Lite News

South Korea and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Wednesday signed a comprehensive economic partnership agreement (CEPA), marking the Asian country’s first free trade pact with an Arab country.

South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol and visiting UAE President Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan held a summit meeting in Seoul, during which the CEPA was inked to solidify the bilateral economic partnership in comprehensive areas such as trade liberalization and investment expansion, the South Korean presidential office said.

The UAE was the first Arab nation to reach a free trade deal with South Korea.

The two nations signed a memorandum of intent, in which South Korean shipbuilders will build at least six liquefied natural gas (LNG) carriers worth about 1.5 billion U.S. dollars for the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC).

The UAE’s sovereign wealth fund also reaffirmed its previous commitment to invest 30 billion dollars in South Korea.

The two sides signed other deals and Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in climate change, energy, infrastructure, nuclear power, intellectual property, defense and technology.

Mohamed arrived here on Tuesday for a two-day state visit, becoming the first UAE president to make a state visit to South Korea.

President Sheikh Mohamed later met with President Yoon, and First Lady, while accompanied by Sheikha Mariam bint Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Chairperson of the Presidential Court for National Projects. The meeting took place at the conclusion of His Highness’ state visit to the Republic of Korea.

During the meeting, UAE President and South Korean President engaged in cordial conversation on the depth of relations between the two countries, expressing their satisfaction with the important outcomes of the visit with regard to the future of bilateral ties.

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan expressed his appreciation to the Korean President for the warm reception and hospitality that His Highness and the accompanying delegation received during the visit, wishing the South Korea and its people further development and prosperity.

Bilateral economic ties

Business leaders of South Korea and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Tuesday discussed ways to enhance economic cooperation and develop business partnerships in new industries, such as clean energy and ICT, a major business lobby here said.

The Korea-UAE Business Investment Forum, held in Seoul during the state visit of UAE President Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, brought together around 200 government officials and business leaders, including South Korean Trade Minister Cheong In-kyo and UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, according to the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI).

“The cooperation between our countries has evolved from developing plants and oil fields into that of a special strategic partnership, exemplified by the Barakah Nuclear Power Plant,” Cheong said in his welcoming remarks. “We will provide support so that the seeds of cooperation can grow,” he added.

The Barakah Nuclear Power Plant in Abu Dhabi, South Korea’s first overseas nuclear project, symbolizes the two nations’ collaboration, reports Yonhap news agency.

Since establishing diplomatic ties in 1980, South Korea and the UAE have partnered in various sectors, particularly in those of energy and construction.

Bilateral trade between the countries reached $20.8 billion in 2023, a significant increase from $190 million in 1980, making the UAE South Korea’s 14th-largest trade partner.

“With the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) signed in October last year, Korea and the UAE are expanding cooperation beyond traditional areas, like energy and infrastructure, into new industries,” KCCI Executive Vice Chairman Park Il-joon noted.

In discussion sessions, business leaders discussed ways to enhance cooperation in clean energy, ICT, communications, logistics, manufacturing and trade through the CEPA.

The KCCI said the UAE is the only Middle Eastern country with a special strategic partnership with South Korea, and expressed hope that the forum would deepen bilateral cooperation and expand exchanges in new industries.

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