South Korea and UAE plan for free trade deal

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Another free trade deal could be in the pipeline, this time between South Korea and the Gulf.


South Korea and the United Arab Emirates are said to be set to launch talks on a possible free trade agreement with a view to boosting the already-strong links between them.

According to the Korea Herald, trade minister Yeon Han-koo has already met with his counterpart Thani Ahmed Al Zeyoudi in Dubai concerning getting the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) off the ground.

"The UAE is South Korea's key partner country under 'the special strategic partnership' and the two nations have been working closely. The CEPA is expected to further boost transactions and investment in bio, aerospace, hydrogen and renewable energy, and many other fields," the Herald quoted Mr Yeon as saying.

No timeframe has yet been revealed with regard to the launch of an FTA, but Seoul is said to be eager to begin domestic procedures soon.

South Korea has been forging a host of free trade deals lately in a bid to diversify its economic and strategic partnerships worldwide and strengthen its global standing against China.

Indeed, it already has deals in place with the US, Chile, Colombia and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) aimed at boosting growth.

Meanwhile, the Gulf region is also forging ties elsewhere, with news this month that it may be set to seal an agreement with the UK.

Minister of foreign affairs and trade in the Republic of Korea Kim Sung-hwan recently spoke in an interview with the Oxford Business Group of how highly he regards the UAE, pointing out that it is the Asian nation's 11th-largest trading partner and a valuable investment ally.

He said he was confident that there will be more cases of joint enterprise between them in future as South Korea looks to expand the scope of its cooperation.

"The [Gulf Cooperation Council] has strived to realise the hopes of its people and has provided clear direction to move towards an even brighter future," Mr Kim concluded.