In a game-changer initiative, India and the United Arab Emirates have signed a historic trade agreement that can double bilateral trade to $100 billion, setting the stage for a “golden era of economic and trade cooperation” between the two countries.
The pact was signed by Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal and UAE Minister of Economy, Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri in New Delhi during a virtual summit meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed al Nahyan.
“The deal is done! Signed the pathbreaking #IndiaUAECEPA along with the UAE Minister of Economy H.E Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri. The sky is the limit for our trade & economic ties as we commit to building a shared future & enhancing the prosperity of our people,” Mr Goyal said on twitter.
The virtual summit between the leaders culminated in an ambitious joint statement that envisages deeper strategic partnership and enhanced maritime cooperation between India and the UAE. The joint statement reaffirmed joint commitment to fight against extremism and terrorism, including cross-border terrorism, in all forms, at both regional and international levels. The leaders issued Joint Stamp commemorating the 50th anniversary of the establishment of UAE and the 75th anniversary of the independence of India.
“The Agreement reflects the deep friendship, shared vision and the trust between the two countries. I am sure this will usher in a new era in our bilateral economic relations,” Prime Minister Modi said.
“India is one of our most important strategic partners and this deal brings us closer than ever before,” UAE’s de facto leader, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, said during the virtual summit. “This deal promises to provide significant benefits to UAE and Indian businesses, including reduced tariffs and enhanced market access, while also breathing new life into trading corridors from Africa to Asia and laying the foundations for growth and prosperity that will benefit the entire region,” he added.
This is India’s fastest-negotiated FTA as negotiations have been completed in less than six months since the launch of negotiations in September 2021. The FTA is the culmination of sustained diplomatic outreach by India to then Gulf powerhouse.
The UAE is India’s third largest trade partner and third-largest export destination. India-UAE bilateral trade was estimated to be around USD 43.3 billion in 2020-21. Exports were USD 16.7 billion and imports aggregated at USD 26.7 billion in 2020-21.
“CEPA will provide a big boost to Indian exports to the UAE. The India-UAE CEPA can also pave the way for a wider India-GCC FTA,” Ajay Sahai, DG & CEO, Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO), told India Writes Network.
The FTA marks a new phase in India-UAE partnership which has grown exponentially in the last few years due to PM Modi’s tireless diplomatic outreach to the Gulf nation.
“PM Modi has invested a lot in transforming relations with the UAE and the Gulf region. PM visited UAE thrice in the last few years. The landmark economic deal is the culmination of these efforts,” Navdeep Suri, a former ambassador of India to the UAE told India Writes Network.
- Manish Chand is Founder-CEO and Editor-in-Chief of India Writes Network (www.indiawrites.org) and India and World, a pioneering magazine focused on international affairs. He is CEO/Director of TGII Media Private Limited, an India-based media, publishing, research and consultancy company.
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