Piyush Goyal
Indian Commerce Minister, Piyush Goyal, is keen on boosting UAE-India trade. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Dubai: India and UAE will finalise a comprehensive economic partnership agreement between the two countries before the end of 2021, said Piyush Goyal, India’s Commerce Minister.

A potential deal could result in investments in a broad range of sectors including infrastructure and logistics. In previous interactions, officials on both ends have also discussed increasing flight connectivity during the six-month long Dubai Expo.

“We were able to agree to try and conclude a comprehensive economic partnership agreement between the two countries before the end of calendar 2021,” said Goyal during an event in Dubai.

Goyal, who has been involved in a spate of high-level government and business meetings to boost UAE-India trade, also announced a plan to boost India’s exports to $2 trillion.

“We are also trying in good measure to increase our international trade - I have not yet put a deadline, but I do hope that we should go up to $1 trillion in exports and $1 trillion in service exports, collectively making it $2 trillion,” said Goyal. “I’m working on a plan of action so that I can put a deadline to it - it’s still a work in process”

Cotton exports

Goyal, who also handles the textiles ministry, said the government was targeting textile exports worth $100 billion, up significantly from last year’s $33 billion, without specifying a time frame.

India, which is among the world’s largest exporters of cotton, will make efforts to diversify its textile portfolio as global demand surges for man-made fibers and technical textiles, said Goyal.

Speaking about the high cotton prices in India, Goyal said that government interference would not be required to fix the problem.

“When cotton prices are high, more farmers will sow cotton, production will increase and therefore economic activity will get a better chance, so I don’t think it’s important right now to control those prices,” said Goyal.

Trade hub

The minister highlighted a few areas where UAE and India could cooperate to boost trade and the setup of businesses.

“It could be reduction of duties, mutual recognition agreements to recognize each other’s laboratories, (and establishing) better standards in India so that goods can move seamlessly,” said Goyal.

“We have to look at the potential not only from the perspective of UAE - being a trading hub, more than half their inputs are being re-exported to almost all over Africa, (and) some other parts of Asia,” he added.