Moscow, 9 December (BelTA) - The Eurasian Economic Union is launching negotiations with the United Arab Emirates on a free trade agreement. This decision was made at a meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council in Bishkek on December 9, BelTA learned from the trade bloc of the Eurasian Economic Commission.
"The work of the joint taskforce showed that the free trade zone with the UAE will create conditions for the growth of our exports across more than 1,300 commodity items both in the industrial sector and in agriculture," Member of the Board (Minister) for Trade of the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) Andrei Slepnev said.
The EEC believes that the upcoming work is broader than just a preferential regime for trade in goods, he noted. The multifaceted cooperation is growing more important which is confirmed by the high interest and presence of a large number of companies of the EAEU countries, including innovative ones, in the United Arab Emirates and also by the role of this state as an international trade, transport and logistics hub.
The agreement with the UAE is also important from the point of view of strengthening the positions of EAEU exporters in the countries of the Persian Gulf in the context of the Greater Eurasian Partnership and the North-South corridor.
According to Andrei Slepnev, the parties expect to work in a fast-track mode and hold the first round of negotiations in March next year.
The joint taskforce to study the feasibility of a free trade agreement between the EAEU and the UAE was set up in accordance with an executive order of the EEC Council in April 2022. Based on the study, the taskforce recommended launching the FTA negotiations. The feasibility study and the conceptual provisions of the future agreement were considered at the meeting of the EEC Council on 25 November.
According to the EEC, from 2015 to 2021 mutual trade between the EAEU countries and the UAE quadrupled to total $6.3 billion: exports from the EAEU went up 4.7 times, imports from the UAE rose by 47%.