Driven by a remarkable 68 per cent growth in Indian exports to the UAE, total exports to the GCC grew by 44 per cent in 2021-22 fiscal year, the Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO), the apex body of the country’s Export Promotion Councils said on Tuesday.
Exports to the UAE, India’s second-largest trading partner and largest in terms of exports, surged to $28 billion in the past fiscal year that ended on March 31, 2022, from $16.7 billion in the 2021 fiscal. India’s total exports to the GCC rose to $43.9 billion from $27.8 billion a year before.
The two-way trade between the UAE and India stood at $43.3 billion in 2020-21, including Indian exports worth $16.7 billion and imports at $26.7 billion. In 2019-20, the bilateral trade value was $59.11 billion.
The landmark India-UAE Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (Cepa), which came into force in May this year, is expected to lift merchandise trade to $100 billion by 2030. The agreement will also open up opportunities for MSMEs and provide job opportunities to the tune of one million. India is the UAE’s second-largest trading partner and largest in terms of exports. Under Cepa, around 90 per cent of the products exported and 80 per cent of lines of the trade from India and to the UAE attract zero duty instantly.
In a statement at the niche expo, Super Sourcing Dubai (SSD), co-located with Propaper Dubai 2022 at Festival Arena, Dubai Festival City, which ends today, top FIEO officials said paper and allied products exports to the GCC touched $638 million in 2021 with the UAE taking a major share in the trade at $386 million.
“Our export performance in the GCC in FY 2021-22 has been marvellous. Apart from the UAE, our exports to Saudi Arabia grew by 49 per cent, Oman by 33 per cent, Qatar by 43 per cent, Kuwait by 17 per cent and exports to Bahrain increased by 70 per cent,” said Dr. Ajay Sahai, director-general and CEO of FIEO.
In the case of the paper industry, India has a 16 per cent market share in GCC and the target is to corner a 25 per cent market share by 2027 with the signing of CEPA with other Gulf countries. India and the UAE signed CEPA in February this year which came into force on May 1 2022. The cumulative demand for paper and allied products in the GCC market is estimated to be over S$3.8 billion.
“We see a lot of opportunities for Indian companies post signing of Cepa with the UAE and are sure that participation in the SSD with such a large contingent, perhaps the biggest after Dubai Expo from India, will give a boost to our trade further,” Dr. Sahai said. He added that the export prospects will further scale up since zero-duty access for Indian products to the UAE is expected to expand over 5-10 years to 97 per cent of UAE tariff lines, or 99 per cent of Indian exports by value.
Dr. A Sakthivel, president of FIEO, said SSD is an exclusive show for Indian exporters to get connected with decision-makers in the supermarkets, hypermarkets, retail chains, buying agents and importers in the Middle East, GCC and African region. “FIEO has been aggressively pushing to enhance India’s exports to the GCC region. In the current financial year, FIEO has planned various activities for the development of India’s export to the region, including exhibitions, B2B delegations, interactive sessions and capacity-building programs,” he said.
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