CEPA a gamechanger in Indo-UAE relations, UAE to begin reducing tariffs on India’s goods by 90%

India’s Minister of Commerce and Industry, Piyush Goyal talks to Abdulla Bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy of the United Arab Emirates, (UAE), during their joint news conference in New Delhi, India, February 18, 2022. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

Dubai, May 12 (IANS) Implementation of a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) signed between India and the UAE on February 18, came into force on May 1 with the arrival of the first imports exempted from tariffs. CEPA between the two countries would help encourage trade by reducing custom tariffs by 90 percent and increase non-oil trade from US$45 billion at the end of 2021 to US$100 billion annually in the next five years.

The UAE chose India to sign the first CEPA, which underscores the strategic ties between the two countries. Since the launch of the CEPA programme as part of the ‘Projects of the 50’ initiative, the UAE began talks to sign CEPAs with several countries of strategic importance both regionally and internationally, aiming to sign eight agreements in 2022.

On the annual growth of the trade exchange between the two countries and their targets over the next five years, Abdullah bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy, said the CEPA between the UAE and India will intensify their bilateral trade and add 1.7 per cent, or US$9 billion, to the UAE’s GDP by 2030, increase the UAE’s exports by 1.5 per cent and its imports by 3.8 per cent by 2030. It will also create some 140,000 jobs for talented people and those with specialist skills in the most promising sectors of the UAE economy by 2030.

On the new areas of cooperation, CEPA offers many advantages, including reducing and cancelling tariffs, widening access to markets, and creating opportunities in vital areas, such as aviation, environment, hospitality, logistics, investment, construction, financial services, and digital trade.

The CEPA will offer numerous advantages for small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) in the private sectors of both countries. It represents a historically strategic step to promote economic integration and cooperation between the two countries and establish a solid foundation that will open new horizons between their business communities.

The CEPA will also open access to different markets and create new investments and opportunities in critical areas, including energy, environment, and digital trade. The agreement covers 11 service sectors and more than 100 sub-sectors, including business services, professional services, accounting, real estate, advertising, communications, building and construction, related services, educational services, environmental services, financial services, insurance, social and health services, and travel and tourism service.

India is the UAE’s largest trading partner in terms of non-oil exports, equivalent to 14 percent of the country’s total global exports, while the UAE is also India’s third-largest trading partner and accounts for 40 percent of its trade with Arab countries.

The most prominent commodities exported from the UAE to India and the commodities imported from India are mainly gold, diamonds and jewellery, machinery, electrical appliances, petroleum and plastics, and minerals that include iron, steel, and aluminium. The two countries account for more than 16 per cent of the global trade in diamonds, gold and jewellery, and the other country accounts for 20 per cent of their national gold trade.

The figures show that three percent of the UAE’s trade during the Covid-19 pandemic was with India, which is among the 15 most important exporters of food commodities in the world, and the UAE is among the most important recipients of its exports from this commodity group, coming in third place.

India is ranked second in terms of the UAE’s total trade in food commodities and products, and is one of most important suppliers in the UAE’s food commodities market, contributing 10 per cent of the UAE’s total imports of food commodities and products.

Talking to IANS, Chandu Siroya, V.P. Dubai Gold and JwellaryGroup, who received the first consignment under CEPA said that the Government of India made a special effort to send the shipment on the first day of CEPA by clearing and sending the shipment on March 5, 2022. Assisted by the Dubai Customs office in the whole process and the shipment was cleared in 15 Minutes Duty Free. The customs assisted us in getting the approval code from Dubai Trade for the exemption. The declaration was done online, and the approval was received instantaneously. It was a very fast seamless process. Kudos to the authorities for doing this under a brand-new agreement.

Dr. Azad Moopen, Founder Chairman and Managing Director of Aster DM Healthcare said that I am delighted to see the strategic ties between UAE and India gaining momentum, and with the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), many corridors for trade, investment, services and employment will open up reciprocally. The UAE has been second home for over 3.4 million Indians and India’s largest trade partner for many years. The leaders of both countries share an amicable bond and this is just another step towards strengthening ties and the relationship between the two countries. With this agreement, we can expect the business between the two countries to increase exponentially.

Paras Shahdadpuri, Chairman, Nikai Group of Companies said that CEPA � Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement, will give a powerful thrust to the bilateral economic relationship. CEPA is equivalent to the FTA which was originally under negotiations between India and GCC which however was taking longer time to conclude. Therefore, the CEPA between the two countries. This will enhance the trade and economic activity between the two countries with manufactured goods of the two countries being imported without incurring any custom duties.

Kamal Vachani, Group Director and Partner at Al Maya Group commented on CEPA that The Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) between India and the UAE is truly a matter of significant importance in the context of its growing economic ties between the two countries. Trade between India and the UAE has always been an important factor in driving economic partnership. India is among the top three trading partners of the UAE and the signing of a new free trade agreement between both the countries will take the trade to the next level. Specially the trading groups like us, who are catering and trading between both countries are going to get its benefits at every step.

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