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India, UAE launch negotiations for early trade pact, see bilateral trade in goods reaching US$ 100 billion in five years

New Delhi, Sep 22 (UNI) India and the UAE on Wednesday formally launched negotiations on the India-United Arab Emirates Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA).
With the UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi-led delegation in India to hold talks for improving bilateral economic relations, the first round of CEPA negotiations is scheduled over September 23-24.
"Both sides will aim to conclude negotiations by December 2021 and sign a formal agreement in March 2022 after the completion of internal legal procedures and ratification," said the joint statement.
Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal has fast-tracked free trade agreements (FTAs) with major countries including UAE to boost bilateral trade and investment.
During the bilateral talks between Goyal and his UAE counterpart, the two ministers emphasised that CEPA will create new jobs, raise living standards, and provide wider social and economic opportunities in both nations.
"A new strategic economic agreement is expected to increase bilateral trade in goods to US$ 100 billion within five years of the signed agreement and increase trade in services to US$ 15 billion," the statement said.
The UAE is currently India’s third-largest trading partner with bilateral trade in 2019/2020 valued at USD 59 billion. The UAE is also India’s second-largest export destination after the US, with exports valued at about US$ 29 billion in 2019-2020.
India was the UAE’s second-largest trading partner in 2019, with bilateral non-oil trade valued at US$ 41 billion. The UAE is the eighth-largest investor in India, having invested US$ 11 billion between April 2000 and March 2021, while investment by Indian companies in the UAE is estimated to be over US$ 85 billion.
India's major exports to the UAE include petroleum products, precious metals, stones, gems and jewellery, minerals, food items such as cereals, sugar, fruits and vegetables, tea, meat, and seafood, textiles, engineering and machinery products, and chemicals. India's top imports from the UAE include petroleum and petroleum products, precious metals, stones, gems and jewellery, minerals, chemicals and wood and wood products.
India imported US$ 10.9 billion of crude oil from the UAE in 2019-2020.
Reaffirming their commitment to working together, both Ministers agreed to strengthen the rules-based, transparent, non-discriminatory, open, and inclusive multilateral trading system embodied by the World Trade Organization. They also agreed to work towards a balanced and inclusive outcome at the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference (MC12) in Geneva, Switzerland.
"Both Ministers emphasised that concluding CEPA negotiations quickly and constructively will further strengthen the deep trade and economic ties between both countries," said the joint statement.
UNI NK
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