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15 July 2024

UAE and India celebrate one year of CEPA, review latest trade data


Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, has held a bilateral meeting with Piyush Goyal, India’s Minister of Commerce and Industry in New Delhi, India, to celebrate the first year of the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) between the two nations and review the newly released trade data.

Initial figures from the UAE Ministry of Economy indicate that from May 2022 to April 2023, the first 12 months of the CEPA, bilateral non-oil trade reached a value of US$50.5 billion, a 5.8 percent increase on the same period from the previous year. The two ministers commended the effectiveness of the CEPA in promoting trade and investment, and restated their shared commitment to building a mutually beneficial partnership that delivers long-term prosperity.

They then attended the conclusion of the inaugural UAE-India Joint Committee, which was convened on the first anniversary of the agreement to assess its impact to date, share data and experiences, review implementation issues, refine tariffs and quotas and recommend amendments. The ministers witnessed the signing of the minutes of the meeting by the chief negotiators, which will help the development of the CEPA over the next two years.

Dr. Thani Al Zeyoudi heralded the progress of bilateral relations over the last year. “Since the implementation of the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement between the UAE and India, we have witnessed real momentum in bilateral non-oil trade, which is keeping us on course to reach our target of US$100 billion by 2030. But this was always more than just a trade deal, and the increased investment flows, joint ventures and deeper market penetration underline the real potential of the agreement. Our visit this week was both a celebration of the achievements to date and an opportunity to strengthen what is becoming a genuine partnership for growth.”

Abdulla Al Shamsi, Assistant Under-Secretary in the Industrial Development Sector, Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology, emphasised the critical role of the Joint Committee to guarantee a mutually beneficial partnership that delivers long-term impact. He said, “The UAE-India CEPA was designed to be a flexible document, able to continually adapt to the changing economic climate and evolving needs of each side. The Joint Committee is crucial to understanding not only the economic impact of the deal, but each side’s experiences of implementation and utilisation – and ensuring both nations are able to derive maximum benefits from it. This week’s meeting demonstrates the same trust and transparency that existed throughout the negotiations and will enable us to unlock new opportunities for our respective business communities.”

Piyush Goyal, Indian Minister of Commerce and Industry, affirmed that the UAE-India CEPA played a prominent role in consolidating economic and trade relations, driving further growth and prosperity and creating new opportunities and enablers for the private sector. He pointed out that the agreement achieved distinguished economic results that enhanced trade exchanges between the two friendly countries.

The Indian minister also reviewed a number of economic initiatives, which will enhance the prospects for investment cooperation between India and the UAE by taking advantage of the promising investment opportunities in the markets of the two countries.

Following the witnessing of the UAE-India Joint Committee, Al Zeyoudi and Piyush Goyal addressed a meeting of business leaders from both the UAE and India, during which they gained insights into the private sector’s utilisation of the CEPA to date. The meeting was designed to understand the business community’s experiences of the deal since implementation as well as explore new, high-potential opportunities.

Coming into force on 1st May 2022, the UAE-India CEPA was the UAE’s first-ever bilateral trade deal and a cornerstone of its new foreign trade agenda. The agreement eliminated or reduced tariffs on more than 80 percent of product lines, created new platforms for SME collaboration and promoted mutual investment flows, particularly into priority sectors. Following the deal with India, the UAE has now concluded a further four CEPAs with Israel, Indonesia, Türkiye and Cambodia.

Al Zeyoudi was joined in India by Dr. Abdulnasser Alshaali, UAE Ambassador to India; Abdulla Al Shamsi, Assistant Under-Secretary in the Industrial Development Sector, Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology; alongside senior private sector stakeholders from companies including Brouge, KEZAD Group, DP World, Al Serkal Group, Al Rawabi, Ail Ain Farms, Al Ghurair Group, DMCC and Emirates NBD.