India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are set to begin the first round of talks on the Free Trade Agreement on Thursday. Union Minister of Commerce and Industry, Shri Piyush Goyal said that both the two countries are aiming to finalize the terms and conditions trade deal by the end of the ongoing year and sign a mutually beneficial Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) by March 2022, after the completion of the legal paperwork and ratification.
Piyush Goyal met his counterpart Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, the UAE minister for foreign trade, regarding trade between India and UAE on Wednesday, and their discussion was aimed at improving bilateral economic relations, including the expansion of existing trade and investment relationships. According to an official statement, both the ministers expressed a desire to reach a mutually beneficial economic deal, building upon the progress made by both India and the UAE under the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership signed in 2017.
According to the experts of the field, this agreement will boost India UAE bilateral trade significantly and that CEPA has the potential to create new jobs, increase living standards, and provide wider social and economic opportunities in both nations. A new strategic economic agreement has the potential to increase the bilateral trade in goods to $100 billion within five years of the signed agreement and increase trade in services to $15 billion.
Currently, based on a cursory evaluation of the UAE-India trade statistics, UAE is India’s third-largest trading partner and also its second-largest export destination for India after the US. According to the India-UAE trade statistics 2019, India exported approximately $29 billion to the UAE in the 2019-2020 financial year. The major exports of India to the UAE include petroleum products, precious metals, stones, gems and jewelry, minerals, food items such as cereals, sugar, fruits and vegetables, tea, meat, seafood, textiles, engineering, machinery products, and chemicals.