UAE-India investment forum: CEPA to trigger investment flows, create new opportunities for key sectors

The game-changing agreement was drafted in just 88 days



Dr Thani Bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade at the opening Keynote Address in the UAE-India Investment Forum powered by Khaleej Times in Dubai on Tuesday 15 March 2022. Photo by Shihab
Dr Thani Bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade at the opening Keynote Address in the UAE-India Investment Forum powered by Khaleej Times in Dubai on Tuesday 15 March 2022. Photo by Shihab
by

Dhanusha Gokulan

Published: Tue 15 Mar 2022, 6:03 PM

Last updated: Tue 15 Mar 2022, 7:54 PM

The UAE-India Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), India’s first bilateral trade agreement in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, is being ratified by the government of the UAE.

Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, the Minister of State for Foreign Trade, confirmed that the two governments would reveal the complete details of the CEPA agreement two months after the submission of ratification by UAE authorities.

Dr Zeyoudi spoke 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.

Ghanim Mohammad Al Falasi, Senior Vice President - Technology and Entrepreneurship, Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority Ramesh Ram, Vice President and Region Head - Strategic Alliances, Tech Mahindra, Shrini Viswanath, Co-founder, UPSTOX, India Sriranga Sampathkumar, VP and General Manager – Middle East and Africa, Infosys, India, Shivendra Singh, Vice President and Head - Global Trade Development, NASSCOM, India (Virtual) and Anjana Sankar, Khaleej Times in the  panel discussion Technology - Potential collaboration, investment and benefits UAE-India   Investment Forum powered by Khaleej Times in Dubai on Tuesday. 15 March 2022. Photo by Shihab
Ghanim Mohammad Al Falasi, Senior Vice President - Technology and Entrepreneurship, Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority Ramesh Ram, Vice President and Region Head - Strategic Alliances, Tech Mahindra, Shrini Viswanath, Co-founder, UPSTOX, India Sriranga Sampathkumar, VP and General Manager – Middle East and Africa, Infosys, India, Shivendra Singh, Vice President and Head - Global Trade Development, NASSCOM, India (Virtual) and Anjana Sankar, Khaleej Times in the panel discussion Technology - Potential collaboration, investment and benefits UAE-India Investment Forum powered by Khaleej Times in Dubai on Tuesday. 15 March 2022. Photo by Shihab

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 significance of the landmark event, Dr Zeyoudi said, “This platform brings the public and private sector together, and the timing couldn’t be more relevant.”

A month ago, UAE-India relations received a historic boost after His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi signed CEPA.

UAE and Indian lawmakers drafted this economic partnership agreement in 88 days.

“Usually, economic agreements like the CEPA take at least two years to operationalise. The UAE- India CEPA trade negotiation was completed in a record 88 days. It is a testament to the friendly relations both countries share,” said UAE Ambassador to India Ahmed Albanna, who was also present at the event.

Dr Thani Bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade at the opening Keynote Address in the UAE-India Investment Forum powered by Khaleej Times in Dubai on Tuesday. 15 March 2022. Photo by Shihab
Dr Thani Bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade at the opening Keynote Address in the UAE-India Investment Forum powered by Khaleej Times in Dubai on Tuesday. 15 March 2022. Photo by Shihab

Dr Zeyoudi said the agreement would trigger investment flows and create enormous new opportunities for key sectors in India and the UAE, including air transport, environment, digital trade and more.

“The potential benefits are very high. Hopefully, the UAE-India CEPA will considerably bolster our national GDP by 2030. Our recipe was straightforward - to place business and industry at the heart of the agreement. We aim to enhance the business ecosystem and build strategic bilateral relations with nations around the world,” he said. “There are no limits to this partnership,” said Dr Zeyoudi.

Dr. Ahmed Abdul Rahman Albanna, UAE’s Ambassador to India, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, UAE, Sunjay Sudhir, Ambassador of India to the UAE, Government of India and Anjana Sankar, Khaleej Times in conversation with Bilateral Trade between UAE and India in the UAE-India Investment Forum powered by Khaleej Times in Dubai on Tuesday. 15 March 2022. Photo by Shihab
Dr. Ahmed Abdul Rahman Albanna, UAE’s Ambassador to India, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, UAE, Sunjay Sudhir, Ambassador of India to the UAE, Government of India and Anjana Sankar, Khaleej Times in conversation with Bilateral Trade between UAE and India in the UAE-India Investment Forum powered by Khaleej Times in Dubai on Tuesday. 15 March 2022. Photo by Shihab

CEPA aims to provide a significant fillip to the trade of goods and services between both nations. The game-changing agreement was set to benefit both traditional and startup economies, hoping that bilateral trade volume would increase from $60 billion to $100 billion in five years.

Meanwhile, Dr Aman Puri, the Consul General of Dubai and the Northern Emirates, said, “The UAE- India relationship is at a historical inflexion point, and the relationship is going to be propelled into the future through CEPA and various other initiatives both governments are committed to.”

He said, “The governments (of UAE and India) are very keen to work with all stakeholders in this relationship to make trade and investments to grow to the next level. The governments have demonstrated their keenness to convert crisis into an opportunity.”

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Dr Puri also said trade and investment relations between the two countries were capitalised at the India pavilion at Dubai Expo 2020. He said, “We’ve had more than 1,000 B2B engagements at the India pavilion and hosted over 500 Indian startups at the pavilion during the Expo.” The pavilion will be hosting marathon pitching sessions for at least 250 startups over the next three weeks until the Expo’s end.

Dr Puri added, “2022 will be a milestone year in terms of UAE investment moving into India and in terms of investment in innovation sectors.”

During his opening remarks, Vinay Kamat, editor-in-chief of Khaleej Times, thanked the Minister and diplomats for being part of the event and said, “We (KT) are here to showcase the friendship between two countries. That is historically strong and keeps getting stronger every moment.”

dhanusha@khaleejtimes.com


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