With India-UAE CEPA, India’s market access will increase and with five more countries coming on board, access to the Middle East will be enhanced. Secretary-General of the GCC has expressed the desire to fast track the negotiations.

The recent India-UAE Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement will provide the leverage the food processing sector needs even as it protects the interest of farmers in India, according to Piyush Goyal, Union Commerce and Industry Minister.

Goyal, while interacting with industry representatives, said that farmers had been fully protected in the India-UAE CEPA while the food processing sector would get a boost. “An additional increase in exports of agricultural products are projected at $850 million over the next five years,” he said.

What is India-UAE CEPA

India-UAE Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) is a landmark trade pact that will propel the two friendly nations forward towards a magnificent, shared destiny.

With CEPA, India’s market access will increase and with five more countries coming on board, access to the Middle East will be enhanced, he said. He mentioned that the Secretary-General of the GCC has expressed the desire to fast track the negotiations and added, “We are also confident in our negotiating ability. We have conducted negotiations in a rapid manner with UAE, and we believe that a similar agreement on trade would be concluded with the GCC in this year itself.”

GCC is a union of six countries in the Gulf region – Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain – with a combined nominal GDP of $ 1.6 trillion.

Goyal said labour intensive industries like textiles, gems and jewellery, leather goods and footwear, and food processing industry would be prominent among those to benefit the most from the India-UAE CEPA. “It will create jobs for our youth, open new markets for our startups, make our businesses more competitive & boost our economy” he added. Sector-wise consultations have shown that the pact will create a minimum of 10 lakh jobs for Indian citizens. Around 90 per cent of the products exported from India to UAE will attract zero duty with implementation of the Agreement.

For the first time in a trade agreement, CEPA provides for automatic registration and marketing authorisation of Indian generic medicines in 90 days, once they are approved in any of the developed countries. This will give big market access to Indian medicines, he said.

India-UAE CEPA pact welcomed by UAE

UAE businesses have welcomed the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) signed with India. ET quoted quite a few top businesspersons for their reactions to the pact.

Yusuffali MA, Chairman of Lulu Group and Vice-Chairman of Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce said that CEPA was “truly a landmark and very decisive moment in the long-standing Indo-UAE trade relations as both countries ink the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA). UAE & India are each other’s key trade partner with robust trade and investments in various sectors in both countries. No doubt with the signing of CEPA, many new avenues of collaborations will open, and this will benefit businesses from both countries and beyond as UAE is a key gateway to Middle East and Africa”.

“The current bilateral trade volume of $53b is expected to double to $100 billion in Five Years. As UAE based business group with sizeable presence in India, especially in the retail and food processing sectors, we are hoping that our imports from India will see new levels of growth which will further strengthen the food security of UAE, he added.”

Bharat Bhatia, Founder & CEO of Conares said that Conares was created in the UAE. “For over 30 years, we have developed an extensive network of clientele, not just in the Middle East, but all around the world. We have plans to explore the possibility in invest backward integration in Steel Making in India. This new trade deal between the two nations creates new opportunities for us to expand our footprint in India,” said.Bhatia.

Abdul Jebbar PB, Group Managing Director, Hotpack Global pointed out that “India offers both export and import opportunities galore which would yield long term benefits and rethinking from our side for future business investments of higher proportions in India. Although India is currently UAE’s second largest trade partner, such a move will surely anchor the already strong relations between UAE and India to all new dimensions enhancing global competitiveness, quality standards and empowering economic development. Hotpack is a global brand”.

“We are the market leaders, here in the UAE and we have been looking to increase our presence in India. This new trade deal is going to open up a lot of doors for us in India and aid us in our plans to expand there. We are confident that we will meet our goal of being recognized as the premier global brand in the packaging industry by 2025, Abdul Jebbar said.”

Dr. Dhananjay Datar, Chairman and MD, Al Adil Group said that “the UAE is Inia’s one of the leading trade partners. In the recent past there has been a tremendous increase in shipping freight charges for goods from India. On this historic occasion, I am expecting that these issues will be addressed and provide a reasonable solution. As an exporter of Indian foodstuff, I am sure a reduction in shipping freight cost will pave way to enhance the trade relationship leading to India becoming the largest trade partner. I feel this is a landmark initiative and will go a long way in strengthening the bilateral relationship between both the countries.”

Kamal Vachani, Group Director and Partner at Al Maya Group noted that the “Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) between India and the UAE is truly a matter of significant importance in the context of it growing economic ties between the two countries. Trade between India and the UAE has always been an important factor in driving economic partnership. India is among the top three trading partners of the UAE and the signing of a new free trade agreement between both the countries will take the trade at the next level.”