Thailand and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have agreed to sign a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) and set up a joint business committee to expand bilateral trade and investment cooperation, with the goal of increasing Thai exports to 30 billion baht this year.
Speaking after leading a group of public and private sector executives in discussions with Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade, Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit on Tuesday said it was a historic day for the two countries to agree on a mechanism to strengthen economic cooperation.
The two countries aim to finalize the details of the planned deal within six months.
Zhu Lin said that CEPA is conducive to expanding the depth and breadth of bilateral trade, investment and economic cooperation.
The Thai and UAE business ministries also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Tuesday to set up a joint business committee to advance trade, investment and economic cooperation.
Companies in Thailand’s logistics and transport industry also yesterday signed a memorandum of understanding on logistics cooperation with Dubai World, a global air cargo network with 78 ports and 240 airports around the world.
Mr Jurin said he asked UAE investors to invest in Thailand and take full advantage of the privileges Thailand offers through the Free Trade Agreement (FTA).
Thailand has signed 14 free trade agreements with 18 countries, including the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, which came into force early last year.
He said the Ministry of Commerce is targeting a 25 percent increase in exports to the UAE this year, totaling 148 billion baht, up from 118 billion baht last year.
Important Thai exports to the UAE include automobiles, air conditioners, jewellery, wood and wood products, rubber products, canned and processed seafood, and aluminum products.
Important products imported from the UAE include crude oil, refined oil, natural gas, metal ores, metal scrap and products, jewelry and gemstones, silver bars and gold, chemicals, steel and steel products, tobacco products, machinery and components, and metal products.
The UAE is the fifth largest economy in the region after Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Israel, with a 2022 GDP of $503 billion.
Its economy relies heavily on oil and gas revenues, with such exports accounting for 30% of GDP.