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Eyeing a deal by December, India & UAE to start FTA talks today

Times of India - 23 September 2021

Eyeing a deal by December, India & UAE to start FTA talks today

India and the UAE on Wednesday announced the launch of negotiations for a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with the UAE joining the United Kingdom, Australia and the European Union among countries with which New Delhi is seeking to prioritise talks for a free trade agreement.

The UAE is India’s third largest trading partner after China and the US with trade estimated at $43 billion last year. “A new strategic economic agreement is expected to increase bilateral trade in goods to $100 billion within five years of the signed agreement and increase trade in services to $15 billion,” an official statement said, adding that the first round of talks will be held on Thursday and Friday.

“Both sides have drawn up a very aggressive and ambitious timeframe and aim to conclude the negotiation by December 2021 itself. And we hope to sign the formal agreement in the early part of 2022 after the completion of internal legal procedures and necessary ratification process,” commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal told reporters after a meeting with after a meeting with Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, UAE’s junior minister for foreign trade.

The commerce minister said that both the countries will focus on products that will have an early impact on trade. “We decided that items in which we have a clear competitive and comparative advantage for trade between the two countries on both sides in goods and services, will focus on getting items of immediate importance to be agreed upon,” Goyal stated.
UAE is India’s secondlargest export destination after the United States of America, with exports of nearly $17 billion in 2020-21. Besides, it is the eighth-largest investor in India, having pumped in $11 billion between April 2000 and March 2021, while investment by Indian firms in UAE is estimated to be over $85 billion.

Apart from petroleum products, India exports precious metals, gems and jewellery, food products and engineering goods and machinery to the UAE, with crude oil being the most important import item. A trade deals on the goods side will help Indian exporters get more competitive in the UAE.

 source: Times of India