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India’s commerce minister Piyush Goyal (left) addresses the media in Dubai yesterday. Image Credit: John Benny/Gulf News

Dubai: Dubai-based developer Emaar and several UAE-based logistics companies have shown interest in investing in India’s infrastructure sector, according to Piyush Goyal, Indian Minister for Commerce and Industry, Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, and Textiles.

“I had a bilateral with Emaar and the enthusiasm to invest in India is phenomenal,” said Goyal, during a press conference late on Saturday. “I had meetings with logistics companies and I would think we may not be able to match up with the speed at which they want to invest in India.”

Goyal, who has been in the UAE for the inauguration of the India Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai, has been involved in a spate of high-level government as well as business and industry meetings to boost investment and trade between UAE and India. “Moving from a stage of legacy issues to a stage of significant bump up in investments has been the highlight of today’s high level task force on investments,” said Goyal. “I do see significant investments coming into India — I see a significant bump up in our exports from India to UAE.”

Goyal said India had also agreed to a dialogue between UAE and the National Investment and Infrastructure fund about speeding up the flow of investments.

More flights

UAE recently lifted restrictions on travel from India, effectively bringing back one of the busiest air routes in the world. “There’s huge demand and there is a possibility of increasing flights under the air bubble, particularly also (because of the) Dubai Expo,” said Goyal. “There are certain issues in the long run, which still need to be sorted out between the two countries on expanding our bilateral air transport elements, which require the civil aviation ministries of both governments to engage more deeply.”

Larger investments

UAE’s sovereign wealth funds are interested in making bigger investments, said the minister, who added that the funds were interested in the monetisation of India’s road assets. “They’re not really looking for small projects, they’re looking at a basket of projects or larger investments,” said Goyal.

No oil talks

UAE’s oil exports to India was not part of the discussions, said Goyal. “That was not a part of the agenda of my visit at all.” In 2019, UAE’s exports to India were worth roughly $27 billion — crude oil shipments alone were valued at nearly $8 billion.

Other engagements

“We have the negotiations with Australia which have been fast tracked — I have an engagement with the UK, which is also working on bullet-train speed,” said Goyal.

The minister said that Thani Al Zeyoudi, UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Trade, may make another visit to India to “speed up and resolve” any issues that may not be possible at the bureaucratic level.

Al Zeyoudi led a high-level UAE delegation to New Delhi less than two weeks ago. The talks during the visit were aimed at improving bilateral economic relations, including expanding the existing trade and investment relationship.

New branches

Emirates NBD, one of UAE’s largest banks, has received approval from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to set up two more branches in the country, said Goyal.

Emirates NBD received a banking licence for the Indian market in 2016 and opened their first branch in Mumbai in July 2017. India is the sixth country where Emirates NBD has an inshore presence after UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Singapore and UK.