DUBAI: The UAE and India are discussing a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) that could boost the value of non-oil trade between the two nations to $100 billion in five years, the UAE’s Ministry of Economy said.
The talks mark a new phase of strategic co-operation between the two countries, the ministry said in a statement on Wednesday. The initiative will broaden economic and investment horizons and boost bilateral trade ties with India, report agencies.
“It will strengthen our position as a global gateway to Africa, Asia and Europe, driving economic growth and prosperity across the region,” said Mr Al Zeyoudi, who led an official delegation to New Delhi for talks.
India is now the UAE’s second-largest trading partner, accounting for 9 per cent of the Emirates’ total foreign trade and 13 per cent of non-oil exports. Bilateral trade between the two nations reached $21bn, growing at an annualised rate of more than 70 per cent in the first six months of this year, ministry data shows.
The value of the UAE’s non-oil trade with India may rise from pre-pandemic levels of $40bn to over $100bn within the five years of the CEPA being signed.
The UAE’s non-oil foreign trade last year reached Dh1.4 trillion ($381.47bn). China retained its top rank as the main trading partner of the UAE, with the value of bilateral trade reaching Dh174bn, followed by Saudi Arabia at Dh104bn and India with Dh102.5bn in third place, data released by the Federal Centre for Competitiveness and Statistics earlier this month showed.
The UAE, the commercial and trading hub of the Middle East, has maintained a strong trade momentum despite pandemic headwinds. It is keen to further strengthen its relations with key trading partners as the global economy recovers and trade rebounds.
This is the second CEPA deal that Mr Al Zeyoudi has commenced talks on this month, following negotiations with Indonesia.
This initiative comes at a “very crucial time as we brace ourselves and set economic priorities for the post-pandemic era,” Ahmed Al Banna, the UAE’s ambassador to India, said.