KUALA LUMPUR, June 4 — Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) today reaffirmed their commitment to sign the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (Cepa) by this year, said the Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry (Miti).

The commitment was made during a bilateral meeting held in Putrajaya today between Investment, Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz and his counterpart, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade Thani Ahmed Al Zeyoudi who was on a one-day working visit to Malaysia.

The Cepa’s first round of negotiations commenced in October 2023. As Malaysia’s first free trade agreement with a member of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the agreement is expected to pave the way for deeper economic collaboration, fostering a conducive environment for increased trade and investment flows, not just between the two nations but between Asean and the GCC region in general.


Tengku Zafrul said the substantive progress on Cepa negotiations reflects both countries’ commitment to creating a comprehensive framework that mutually benefits Malaysia and the UAE.

“Malaysia is optimistic that the signing of the Cepa will further elevate our economic linkages with the UAE as Malaysia’s second largest trading partner in the West Asia region,” he said in a statement today.

During the bilateral meeting, in addition to the Cepa, both ministers had the opportunity to discuss, among others, potential trade and investment cooperation between the UAE and Malaysia, especially in the areas of semiconductor and renewable energy.


Thani who was accompanied by a delegation comprising nine prominent UAE business leaders representing sectors such as green energy, logistics, retail and airline, aims to explore new business opportunities, forge strategic partnerships and reinforce existing collaborations with Malaysian partners.

Thani also paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

The UAE and Malaysia have forged solid bilateral trade and economic ties — for the first quarter of 2024, bilateral trade recorded a significant increase of 43.4 per cent reaching RM11.70 billion.

On the investment front, as of 2023, 34 manufacturing projects with Emirati participation worth RM1.49 billion (US$0.39 billion) were implemented and created a total of 2,039 employment opportunities in Malaysia. — Bernama