India signs new trade pact with United Arab Emirates

India signs new trade pact with United Arab Emirates

India has signed a new trade deal with the UAE that is expected to boost non-oil trade between the two countries from the current $60 billion to $100 billion in five years.

India’s Commerce and Industry Minister, Piyush Goyal, called the India-UAE Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) a landmark pact that will open up new markets for Indian goods and services.

He said the agreement “will be extremely beneficial for MSMEs, start-ups, farmers, traders and all sections of businesses”. He added that labour-intensive industries including textiles, jewellery, leather goods and footwear, pharmaceuticals, engineering and food processing would be among the sectors to benefit the most.

Goyal described CEPA as a balanced, fair, comprehensive and equitable partnership agreement, which will give enhanced market access to India in both goods and services. “It will create jobs for our youth, open new markets for our start-ups, make our businesses more competitive and boost our economy,” he said.


Win-win agreement

Goyal added that the CEPA, which was finalised and signed in a record 88 days, would come into force by early May. He said that “around 90% of products exported from India to the UAE will attract zero duty with the implementation of the agreement; 80% lines of trade will attract zero duty; and the remaining 20% does not affect our exports much, so this is a win-win agreement.”

UAE Minister of Economy Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri described the pact as a “towering achievement” in trade relations between the two countries that will add 1.7%, or $8.9bn, to the UAE’s gross domestic product by 2030.

The agreement lifts 80% of tariffs on UAE and India goods, while all tariffs will be removed within 10 years, said Thani Al Zeyoudi, the UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade. Key UAE commodities that will benefit from the tariff elimination include aluminum, copper and petrochemicals.

The office of India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, said in a statement that the deal will promote trade, investment and innovation dynamic in diverse sectors, including economy, energy, climate action, emerging technologies, skills and education, food security, healthcare and defence and security.

For the first time in a trade agreement, CEPA guarantees the automatic registration and marketing authorisation of Indian generic medicines within 90 days of their approval in any of the developed countries, giving much bigger market access to Indian medicines.