UAE-India Investment Forum: Companies set to benefit as soon as CEPA comes into effect
UAE and India have signed multiple trade deals over the years.
Dr. Thani Bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade; Dr. Ahmed Abdul Rahman Albanna, UAE Ambassador to India; Dr. Aman Puri, Consul General of India; Sunjay Sudhir, Ambassador of India to the UAE, and Rajeev Khanna, COO Khaleej Times, at the UAE-India Investment Forum. KT Photo/Shihab
The Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) was a natural progression for bilateral trade relations between UAE and India, top diplomats of both countries have said.
Ahmed Al Banna, the UAE’s ambassador to India, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said he remembers when he first presented his diplomatic credentials to the then President of India Pranab Mukherjee in 2016.
“Looking back at the bilateral relations UAE and India shared several hundred years ago to the ties both countries enjoy now, it has only grown stronger over the years,” said Al Banna. From the traditional exchange of goods and services to trade in the oil and gas sector, UAE and India have signed multiple trade deals over the years.
“In 1985, our bilateral trade stood at approximately $185 million, and as of 2019-2020, the trade amount is at $60 billion. The visionary leadership behind both countries made this growth possible,” he said.
Similarly, Sunjay Sudhir, the Indian Ambassador to the UAE, said CEPA would not be the last economic agreement both countries have signed.
“UAE and India share a growing relationship. Today it is CEPA, and tomorrow it would be something else. CEPA is a comprehensive document that is future-led. We are talking about new forms of friendship that includes matters such as climate action, education collaborations, health cooperation, fintech, etc.,” said Sudhir.
The envoys to India and UAE were speaking at the UAE-India Investment Forum 2022, a multi-faceted trade event that hopes to herald a new beginning in the flourishing economic ties between the two countries.
Top officials from the UAE Ministry of Economy, Indian diplomatic missions in the UAE, and leading business leaders from the Indian community attended the marquee event on Tuesday, March 15.
Commenting on the challenges faced while drawing up CEPA, Al Banna said while there were challenges in negotiating the trade deal, UAE and Indian leaders saw them as opportunities.
“The leadership positively looked at them. The instructions from the leaders were to try and draft a deal as soon as possible in a very professional way; that’s why we were able to finish it in 88 days,” he said.
Ambassador Sudhir said, “Trade negations are not easy. Here, the most important aim was trust and commitment. We had a mutual desire to come up with a contemporaneous agreement that was going to unlock potential across the board.” Meanwhile, Al Banna also said the trade deal had received positive feedback from the Emirati business community.
“At least 90 per cent of the companies in both countries will benefit immediately once CEPA comes into effect. The benefits will cross whatever our expectations are, including the creation of jobs across various sectors,” he added.
Sudhir said, “When trade grows, investment follows, and jobs are created when economies grow."