UAE announces intent to begin bilateral trade talks with Australia: Trade minister

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The UAE has announced on Thursday an intent to begin Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) talks with Australia, according to a social media post from Dr Thani al-Zeyoudi, the Emirates’ Minister of Foreign Trade.

The move is expected to “grow the trade relationship between both countries, creating new jobs and opportunities for exporters,” according to a statement shared by Dan Tehan, Australia’s minister for trade, tourism, and investment.

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Following the trade deal’s progression, it would mark the first time that Australia signs such an agreement in the Middle East.

As part of the process, proceedings to realize the agreement would include “stakeholder consultations” and follow the terms set by the World Trade Organization, according to a joint statement shared by the Australian minister.

“Australia has more than 300 key businesses operating in the UAE,” said Tehan in the statement, “including in building, construction, financial services, agricultural supplies and training services and a CEPA would create more opportunities for Australian businesses and workers.”

The UAE and Australia marked $6.8 billion in two-way trade in 2020, making it the largest trade and investment partner in the Middle East, according to information publicly available on Austrlia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website.

The UAE signed a CEPA with India, its second largest trade partner, in February, and officials expects to finalize soon bilateral negotiations with Israel and Indonesia.

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