UAE India trade deal
UAE delegation led by Minister of Economy, Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri and Minister of State for Foreign Trade Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi with Indian Minister of Commerce & Industry Piyush Goyal during the bilateral meeting. Image Credit: ANI

Dubai: India’s gold and jewellery sector as well as the pharmaceutical industry have emerged major winners in the new deal struck by the UAE and India, which seeks to raise trade volumes between the countries to $100 billion. Apart from the trade aspect, the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) will free up investments – and create job opportunities – in key sectors.

In the gold and jewellery sector, India will benefit from easier access to the UAE, helped by changes to the customs duty. It will mean that India-made jewellery can be brought to the UAE at competitive rates. Currently, the UAE has an import duty of 5 per cent on these items.

“The easing of duties will cement UAE’s status as a ‘jewellery gateway’ to the world and replacing the likes of Hong Kong and Italy,” said Shamlal Ahamed of Malabar Gold & Diamonds. “This development will make the pricing of Indian manufactured jewellery even more attractive to shoppers - residents, transit arrivals, and tourists - in the UAE.

Landmark move on medicine imports

The biggest winner of the day could be India’s pharmaceuticals industry. Those medicines made in India and approved by the FDA (Federal Regulatory Agency) of the US will be able to access the UAE market. What’s more, the timeframe to complete the processes have been brought down to 90 days.

This opens up significant prospects for India’s pharmaceutical companies, who typically make generic medicines at much lower retail prices than the originals.

“India has been the pharmacy to the world, but it was difficult to get their products registered in the UAE and Gulf,” said Dr. Azad Moopen, Chairman and Managing Director at Aster DM Healthcare. “CEPA has definitely made it easy for Indian pharma companies to come here, and the cost differential on their medicines can be 5-10 times lower.”

Steel will shine

Steel manufacturers in the UAE and India will have their reasons to be pleased. Their exports of value-added products to either country will come under the duty concession regime.

India’s sprawling plastics industry gets a chance to generate “35-40 lakh” (3.5 million to 4 million) jobs as it benefits from UAE provided investments and technology knowhow.

Done deal

According to Goyal, the CEPA deal “is not an interim arrangement or an interim agreement. It’s a complete and comprehensive economic partnership, finalized in the shortest possible time that any such comprehensive agreement anywhere in the world has been witnessed in history.

“Ever since 2017, when both countries embarked on a comprehensive strategic partnership covering a wide array of subjects, we have been witnessing a growing synergy between the two countries and a deepening of the bonds of brotherhood between the people of the two countries