Financial Express | 29 August 2021
Proposed FTA with UAE to boost jewellery, chemicals, engineering exports, say exporters
The proposed free trade agreement (FTA) with the UAE can result in enhanced exports of several sectors, including gem and jewellery, engineering, leather goods and chemicals to the Emirates as the pact would enhance competitiveness of domestic traders, according to exporters.
India has started negotiations for the agreement with the UAE, which is the third largest trading partner of New Delhi.
Under a free trade agreement, two trading partners reduce or eliminate customs duties on the maximum number of goods traded between them. Besides, they liberalise norms to enhance trade in services and boost investments.
Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) Chairman Colin Shah said that the proposed FTA with the UAE can result in enhanced exports of gem and jewellery products to the Emirates which is really required presently as the exports from the sector to the UAE have declined significantly to USD 2.77 billion in 2020-2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic situation.
“The UAE is India’s one of the top three major export markets for gem and jewellery products,” he said.
He said the council has suggested the government to seek abolition of import duty in the UAE on the exports of gold, silver and platinum jewellery from India; besides reduction of import duty from 7.5 per cent to 4 per cent in India on the imports of gold bars/silver bars/platinum bars from the UAE.
Council for Leather Exports (CLE) Chairman Sanjay Leekha said that there is a lot of potential for Indian exporters in the UAE, which has a huge Indian diaspora.
“We have lots of commonalities. Huge potential for exports in areas like footwear, and leather goods. The FTA will help us in enhancing competitiveness,” Leekha said adding the export of leather, leather products and footwear from India to the UAE was USD 169.86 million during 2019-20.
He added that UAE entrepreneurs can be requested to invest in the leather, leather products and footwear industry, or enter into JVs/ collaborations with Indian companies, considering the huge opportunities in the domestic market and exports.
Sharing similar views, leading exporter and former President of Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) S K Saraf said that the UAE is a key trading partner of India and it is a main hub for re-exports.
“FTA with the UAE will benefit Indian exporters a lot. This pact is most important and that will certainly help domestic exports. FTA with the UAE is a great idea,” Saraf said, adding the government should put some strong safeguard mechanism in the pact so that nobody can misuse it.
Hand Tools Association President S C Ralhan said that the engineering sector holds huge potential for exports there.
He added that the reduction in import duty on gold from the UAE would help the domestic gems and jewellery sector and also cut smuggling of the yellow metal in the country.
FIEO Vice-President Khalid Khan stated that the UAE is a key export destination for Indian exporters and the UAE is a gateway for countries like Iran, Iraq and African nations.
Bilateral trade between India and the UAE stood at USD 43.3 billion in 2020-21. Exports were USD 16.7 billion and imports aggregated at USD 26.7 billion in 2020-21.