UAE, India set to reach trade, investment agreement in December 2021

Nirmala Sitharaman and Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi along with senior delegates.
Nirmala Sitharaman and Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi along with senior delegates.

Dubai - The UAE seeks to establish bilateral trade agreements that are comprehensive in nature.


Issac John

Published: Sun 26 Sep 2021, 2:33 PM

Last updated: Sun 26 Sep 2021, 4:29 PM

The UAE and India expect to reach an agreement by December 2021 to boost bilateral trade to $100 billion in five years with a target to ink the landmark economic partnership deal in March 2022.

The two sides had started discussion in earnest on a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) on Thursday with Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade, meeting Piyush Goyal, India’s Minister of Commerce and Industry, to outline how the two nations can accelerate two-way trade, investment and economic opportunity.

Dr Al Zeyoudi also held productive talks with Jyotiraditya Scindiam, Minister of Civil Aviation, Ashwini Vaishnaw, Minister of Electronics and Information Technology, and Nirmala Sitharaman, Minister of Finance, where the potential for deepening ties in investment, technology and aviation were discussed.

Al Zeyoudi said India is a key economic partner for the UAE and trade between the two nations has been continuing for centuries.

“India is also our second-largest trading partner, accounting for 9.0 per cent of its total foreign trade and 13 per cent of non-oil exports. We anticipate that the value of the UAE’s non-oil trade with India will rise from pre-pandemic levels of $40 billion to over $100 billion within five years of an agreement being signed,” the minister was quoted by Indian media as saying.

Al Zeyoudi expressed optimism that a comprehensive and mutually beneficial agreement can be reached by December 2021 and a deal can be signed in March 2022 subject to the completion of legal procedures and ratification by both parties.

The minister said the UAE seeks to establish bilateral trade agreements that are comprehensive in nature. They include trade in goods, services and closer cooperation in priority areas that support our growth and sustainable development. India has an attractive and competitive services sector that makes an important contribution to the country’s economy. Specific sectors that will be included in Cepa are still under discussion and this will be finalised in due course as talks progress.

Al Zeyoudi noted that both nations have a comprehensive investment partnership built on decades of growing collaboration. Today, the UAE is the 9th largest investor in India with over $18 billion in committed funds, while India’s investment in the UAE stood at around $8 billion in 2019, accounting for around six per cent of foreign direct investment in the UAE. The UAE-India High Level Joint Task Force has continued to explore areas to promote economic activity between both countries and we will meet again during Expo 2020 Dubai.”

Minister Goyal is scheduled to visit the UAE for the opening of the Indian pavilion at Expo on October 1.

According to sources, over the years, the two-way investment has been into strategically important sectors, such as services, sea transport, power, infrastructure, real estate, healthcare and telecommunications. Both sides see great potential to further expand in these areas and also explore new ones by committing capital to future industries like agritech, artificial intelligence, green infrastructure and renewable energy.

The UAE delegation arrived in New Delhi on September 21 for a four-day visit for the talks that mark the beginning of a new era of strategic cooperation between the two countries.

In the discussions with Goyal, Al Zeyoudi restated the UAE’s belief that expanding trade expands opportunity, stability and prosperity, and that closer ties between the UAE and India’s economies can offer fresh impetus to the global recovery. —

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