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UAE-India Cepa deal will be a gamechanger in trade ties, businessmen say

Zero per cent duty to also apply to items that fall under the retail industry sector

File photo
File photo

By SM Ayaz Zakir, Dhanusha Gokulam

Published: Wed 4 May 2022, 5:15 PM

Cepa will be a gamechanger in UAE-India trade ties and bilateral relations between the countries, businessmen said.

Many business heads here are looking forward to a positive change with the first consignment of jewellery from India under the Comprehensive Economic Partnership (Cepa) reaching the UAE on Tuesday.

The three packages contained approximately $1 million worth of precious gems and jewellery.

Kamal Vachani, group director, and partner at Al Maya Group said that Cepa signed between India and the UAE in February, and effective from May 1, will give a massive boost to trade. “It is expected to boost both ways trade by $60 billion to $100 billion in five years, which is a win-win situation for both countries,” said Vachani.

“Under Cepa, several categories benefit immediately from zero per cent duty. It will definitely benefit the retail sector wherever zero per cent duty will apply to items that fall under the retail industry sector,” he added.

Rizwan Sajan, founder and chairman of Danube Group said that the activation of the digital channel clearly states the reduction of tariffs in each product category and reflects government’s seriousness in ensuring that the private sector companies undertake initiatives to boost two-way trade.

“This detailed web portal eliminates ambiguity about any aspect of the Cepa deal which is now live for all of us to download, read, understand, register our interest and act swiftly,” said Sajan.

Sajan said exports from India will be more in his area of business. “As for steel and building materials imports, we are going to examine the opportunities. I’m sure there are some reductions in certain products. It will be a matter of pride for us NRIs to import more Indian products to the UAE and re-export it to other GCC countries.”

Ali Rao, CEO of Elixir, an investment conglomerate in Dubai, called the agreement a milestone because of the huge impact it is set to have on trade and finance in the region. “Cepa is expected to increase the total value of bilateral trade in goods to over $100 billion. The trade in services is also expected to cross $15 billion within five years. That’s just the significance in numbers but the real value beyond those figures is mammoth for businesses across the Arabian Sea.

“This will begin to show almost immediately in labour-intensive sectors such as gems and jewellery, textiles, leather, footwear, plastics and furniture,” he said.


“The arrival of the first consignment of goods under this agreement is symbolic of many great things to come as it ushers a whole new chapter in India-UAE relations, with more Indian companies expected to start full-time operations,” said Robin Philip, founder of top Dubai consultancy A&A Associate.

Vachani said several categories of businesses will benefit immediately from zero per cent duty. “It will definitely benefit the retail sector wherever zero per cent duty will apply to the items that fall under the retail industry,” he said.

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