Malaysia-UAE to sign CEPA by June 2024

Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates would be signing the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) that ‘aims to deepen ties with strategic partners’ by June this year, said Investment, Trade and Industry Minister, Tengku Zafrul Aziz.

Non-oil bilateral trade between the two nations reach more than US$2.226 billion during the first half of 2023.

Last year UAE Trade Minister Thani Al Zeyoudi said that the country accounted for 32 percent of Malaysia’s trade with Arab countries, making it Malaysia’s second-largest trade partner in the Middle East and its 17th-largest globally, reported The Diplomat.

The relationship is also marked by considerable amounts of investment. In his statement, Zeyoudi said the UAE and Malaysia Malaysian investments in the UAE stand at $150 million, and UAE investments in Malaysia stand at $220 million, he said.

Malaysia hopes that it will open the way to further UAE investments in various sectors of the country’s economy, including in energy, electric vehicles, and microchips.

Since taking office in late 2022, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has pledged to strengthen relations with the region, and to establish Malaysia as its economic bridgehead in the fast-growing Asia-Pacific.

In March last year, Anwar in his first state visit to Saudi Arabia pledged that he was “committed to elevating the brotherly relations with the Kingdom to a higher level, especially in trade, investment, education, and culture as well as exploring new potential areas of cooperation.”

Malaysia has also launched negotiations for a free trade pact with the Gulf Cooperation Council, which in addition to the UAE, includes Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman as members, but progress on this has been sluggish and the talks now appear to be on hold.