Dubai: With CEPA, India and the UAE are offering a platform for a possible wider global cooperation, according to Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, the Minister of State for Foreign Trade.
Since the agreement was signed a year ago, UAE and India have launched several initiatives, including the I2U2 program and a recent trilateral agreement with France to promote collaboration in energy and climate change mitigation. These partnerships create new access to economic opportunities for both countries.
“The CEPA deal was concluded to reflect our ambitions by reducing tariffs on more than 80 per cent of product-lines and creating new opportunities for service exports and investment flows,” said Al Zeyoudi at an event to mark the first anniversary of the signing of the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement.
Under the agreement, duties on more than 10,000 tariff lines will be removed within 10 years.
Membership to the council will be by invitation only, and institutional members will be included over time.
The UIBC-UC will be the counterpart to the UIBC India Chapter, which was established in New Delhi in 2015. The council's focus will be to identify significant strategic projects that both countries can undertake, including investments in large infrastructure ventures in India, advances in manufacturing and technology, and providing Indian manufacturers with the ability to use the UAE as a base for their global expansion.
Faizal Kottikollon, Chairman of KEF Holdings, has been appointed as the Chairman of UIBC-UC, and the founding members of the council include Mubadala, Wizz Financial, DP World, Emaar, Emirates Airlines, Emirates NBD Bank, TATA, Reliance, Adani, OLA, Zerodha, Udaan, EaseMyTrip, KEF Holdings, Buimerc Corporation, Apparel Group, EFS, and Lulu Financial.
“From the moment we commenced our mission, it was clear that we share the same vision, the same unity of purpose,” said Al Zeyoudi. “We understood that our future was better served through closer integration, greater market access, and enhanced private-sector collaboration, particularly in high-growth sectors such as advanced technology, renewable energy, logistics, food security, and many others.”
Trade between the UAE and India has increased by 10 per cent in the year after the countries agreed to a major economic treaty, setting the stage for greater co-operation throughout the Middle East and Asia.
Non-oil trade rose to nearly $50 billion since the CEPA was signed a year ago today. India’s non-oil exports to the UAE grew 5 per cent to $15.2 billion during the June-January period, compared to a 3.4 per cent contraction of such exports to the rest of the world. Non-oil imports during the same period increased 3 per cent to $16.8 billion. India exported goods worth $285.9 billion during the June-January period, up 3.1 per cent, and exports to the UAE jumped 11.4 per cent during the same time at $20.4 billion.
“There is no better model of international cooperation than the UAE-India CEPA,” said Al Zeyoudi. “And I’m looking forward to working to realize its full potential.”
Recently, a UAE delegation went to India for the opening of Ducab’s office in Bengaluru, where it reviewed $3 billion in investments into renewable energy, logistics, retail, and food processing projects, all of which have the potential to create 20,000 jobs in India. They follow other joint initiatives launched in 2022, such as the 300MW hybrid energy projects in Gujarat, the Dubai incubator center, and the Technology Accelerator platform set up by DP World in partnership with Invest India and the Startup Kerala mission.
“As one of the largest retailers, currently Lulu group imports close to Dh3.5 billion worth of food & non-food products from India for our 247 hypermarkets & supermarkets in the region, and this will further grow as a result of this new MOU as well as the CEPA initiatives,” said Saifee Rupawala, CEO of LULU Group International.
Nirankar Saxena, Dy. Secretary General of FICCI said, “This MoU provides a huge opportunity to the MSMEs and start-ups in India as they reach out to UAE to expand their business.”