UAE free trade talks with India and Indonesia going well, minister says

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FILE PHOTO: A container ship is moored at Abu Dhabi's Khalifa Port after it was expanded in Abu Dhabi

DUBAI (Reuters) - Free trade talks between the United Arab Emirates and India and Indonesia, are making good progress, the Gulf state's trade minister said on Wednesday, a day after starting similar talks with Israel.

The UAE said in September it would seek economic agreements with eight countries - India, Britain, South Korea, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Israel, Kenya and Turkey https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/abu-dhabi-crown-prince-visit-turkey-soon-nov-24-turkish-officials-2021-11-15 - as part of a push to recover from the pandemic and in the face of increasing economic competition from Gulf neighbour Saudi Arabia.

UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade Thani Zeyoudi has previously said he hopes to conclude some of these deals by the end of the year.

"We are making excellent progress in our negotiations with India and Indonesia, and hope that our discussions with Israel https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/israel-uae-launch-free-trade-agreement-talks-bilateral-trade-rises-2021-11-16 are equally productive," he said in a statement to Reuters.

He added that the talks with Israel were a "natural extension" of the new relationship with Israel forged after the two countries established diplomatic relations last August.

The UAE, which refers to the trade deals it is aiming for as Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreements (CEPA), opened negotiations with South Korea https://www.reuters.com/world/uae-south-korea-agree-talks-trade-deal-2021-10-14 in October.

(Reporting by Lisa Barrington; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

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