UAE-India bilateral trade to be further strengthened by newly established business council

The council will have its office in Abu Dhabi, and will focus on promoting trade and investment relations between the two countries


Nasreen Abdulla

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Published: Sat 18 Feb 2023, 4:05 PM

Last updated: Sat 18 Feb 2023, 4:42 PM

The UAE chapter of the UAE-Indian business council has been established on the first anniversary of the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) deal signed by both countries. The council, which brings together some of the leading businesses in both India and the UAE, will help increase investments and bilateral trade.

The UAE India Business Council - UAE Chapter (UIBC-UC) was launched in Dubai by Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade, in the presence of Ambassador of India to the UAE Sunjay Sudhir, Consul General of India in Dubai Dr Aman Puri and founding members of the UBIC-UC.

“This is a very significant thing,” said Sunjay Sudhir. “This grouping of very eminent entities. We want to bring together their experience of doing business in both countries so as to further lubricate the investment and business corridor between both countries. They will discuss ideas on how to further generate trade and investment opportunities.”

Adeeb Ahamed, MD of Lulu Financial Holdings welcomed the formation of the council saying it would strengthen the relationship between both the countries. “As UAE and India embark on a historic path to increase trade volumes to US$100 billion, the call for greater cooperation between Emirati and Indian businesses has taken utmost precedence,” he said. “The success of such a joint effort requires industry representatives from both sides to join hands, engage in meaningful discussions and partnerships, help expand the scope of existing markets and create newer opportunities to drive innovation and growth.”

UAE, the centre of the world

According to the chairman of UIBC-UC, Faizal Kottikollon, the main purpose of the council will be to build trust. “We will act as a channel partner and a bridge," he said. "The basis of any business is trust. When you develop trust, everything becomes easier.”

With both countries growing rapidly, Faizal who is the chairman of KEF Holdings, said this council was the need of the hour. “UAE has become the centre of the world after Covid,” he said. “India has got so much of knowledge, but we need a lot of capital. UAE got a significant amount of capital. So, if you can marry these two things, it's a powerhouse. What this council does is identifying projects in both the countries and bringing investment through this channel.”

Faizal confirmed that there are several projects already in the pipeline. “We are very confident that there'll be three large investments coming into India soon,” he said. “We will announce the details in due course of time, but I can assure you that it is indeed a very exciting time.”

The Council

The founding members of the UIBC-UC from the UAE side are: Mubadala – Sovereign Wealth Fund of the UAE, Wizz Financial, DP World, EMAAR, Emirates Airlines and Emirates NBD Bank. From the Indian side, conglomerates such as TATA, Reliance, and Adani are represented, as well as tech innovators like OLA, Zerodha, Udaan, and EaseMyTrip, along with prominent Indian entrepreneur led Corporations based in the UAE such as KEF Holdings, Buimerc Corporation, Apparel Group, EFS and Lulu Financial.

Siddharth Balachandran, executive chairman and CEO of Buimerc Corporation Ltd said the UIBC-UC will further strengthen the growth of India-UAE relationship. “To channelize the various investments, we need channels like these,” he said. “It will add a layer of credibility and give investors a channel to verify investment opportunities.”

Rizwan Soomar, CEO & MD (India Subcontinent) at DP World, will serve as the Co-Chairman of UIBC-UC. Major General (Retd.) Sharafuddin Sharaf, who serves as the Chairman of the UIBC India Chapter, will also hold the position of Vice Chairman of UIBC-UC.

The council will have its office in Abu Dhabi and will be a pan-UAE body focusing on promoting trade and investment relations between the UAE and India. Membership to UIBC-UC will be by invitation only, and institutional members will be invited over time.

An India chapter of the business council was established in New Delhi in 2015 by Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and the late Sushma Swaraj, who was then Minister of External Affairs of India, during the 11th Session of the India-UAE Joint Commission Meeting.


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