Expo 2020 Dubai has managed to attract the world’s top business drivers to the region and this was further catalysed on Friday when Chile signed an agreement with the UAE to immediately begin negotiations for a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA).
Rodrigo Yanez, vice minister of Trade, Chile, and Thani Al Zeyoudi, UAE Minister of Trade announced the decision to negotiate CEPA, which would be the main economic framework that will govern the economic relationship with the UAE.
“We want this agreement to boost channels and push for the advancement of initiatives that respond to our challenges and push for our strategic vision. Both Chile and the UAE are very well-positioned to be leaders in the energy sector as producers,” Yanez said in an exclusive interview with Khaleej Times.
“We are set to be positioned to be one of the top three global exporters of green hydrogen by 2040. We are already starting to see a pipeline of projects in the solar, wind and renewable energy sectors. Southern Patagonia and the Atacama Desert in Chile are very promising prospects in solar energy. We think that the UAE could be an important player there as we know that they want to become a global player in this industry. The UAE is also thinking of economic diversification and trying to move away from oil and gas. That is something that CEPA will empower,” he explained.
Chile is one of the Latin American countries with the strongest recovery and in 2021, with a growth of 12 per cent. So far, about 100 different Chilean companies have visited Expo 2020 Dubai in trade delegations or missions.
Yanez also informed a proper framework of protection for investors and double taxation agreements are also under discussion. “We are on a solid track with CEPA for which we are expected to finish the negotiations very smoothly in the next six months. Also, when thinking of double taxation, we have an agreement that’s already in the Chilean congress and is expected to get passed in the next six months - this would attract FDIs.”
Chile’s FDI agency has already been to this region and is expected to be back in late March, with a delegation, to participate in an investment forum that will take place in the context of the Expo which is the central aspect of the CEPA.
“This is the first such agreement that any Latin American government has with this country and the first agreement that we have with any GCC member country. We have leveraged the Expo as a driver to make substantive advances in this aspect. We signed the MoU and economic affairs here at the Expo, launched the idea of starting a negotiation with the UAE, negotiated terms, and now today, we have made a statement where we commit to initiating the negotiations immediately after today,” Yanez said.
The CEPA will also include sanitary and phytosanitary measures, rules of origin, digital economy, SMEs, and intellectual property protection, among other relevant issues. In 2021, Chile’s trade with the UAE reached $260 million. In the last 10 years, exports have grown at an average annual rate of 6 per cent, while imports have increased at an average rate of 18.6 per cent per year.
Last year, 221 Chilean companies exported to the UAE, reaching a total of 116 products and services, which collectively totalled operations for $214.6 million. Exports of dairy-based preparations, potassium nitrate, copper cathodes, sawn timber, nuts, sodium nitrate, cellulose, salmon and trout, apples, kiwis, grapes, wines, cherries were the most important exports. Forty-eight percent of Chilean shipments to the UAE are foodstuffs.
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