UAE - Logistics is not just an industry but a vital part of economic growth — and the UAE has served as a "living example" of its transformative power, an Indian minister told Khaleej Times in an exclusive interview on Friday.

“Logistics defines international trade, defines cost competitiveness, and creates jobs in a very big way. Seeing the seamless movement of goods can truly help economies grow much faster. The UAE is a living example of that,” said Piyush Goyal, India's Minister of Commerce and Industry.

When it comes to this sector, the two countries are solid partners, Goyal said, highlighting the UAE-India pact that will act as a gateway to Africa and other Middle Eastern and European countries.

“Logistics is the centrepiece of our economic agenda, both in terms of creating new jobs and work opportunities, as well as bringing down the cost of movement of goods so that we are more competitive across the world.

“The UAE and India are partnering very closely in this effort. We see a lot of investments from the UAE to India in this field. In the high-level task force of investments yesterday, we extensively discussed significant investments coming to India in the field of logistics," the minister said.

Despite challenges — such as global macroeconomic and geopolitical factors —India and the UAE have seen a rise in trade, with DP World playing a crucial role as a leading logistics facilitator.

The India-Middle East-Europe corridor

The cross-border ship-to-rail transit corridors of the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC), which were discussed in the recent G20 summit, "speak about the closeness and the growing relations between the two countries", the minister said.

“The confidence comes from trust, not only between the leaders… The trust between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the UAE President, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan…is phenomenal. But there is trust between the businesspersons and people of both countries, too."

For India, the UAE is seen as an emerging trading hub for the region, Goyal said.

"We also see the UAE and India both playing an important role in the India-Middle East-Europe corridor that has been conceptualised on the sidelines of the G20 presidency in India.”

The establishment of the corridor aims to significantly enhance connectivity and integration between participating countries and will be comprised of two different pathways – the east corridor connecting India to the Arabian Gulf and the northern corridor connecting the Arabian Gulf to Europe.

‘Sky is the limit’

Goyal reaffirmed that the UAE holds "enormous potential" as a hub not only for its own region but for Africa, Europe, and the CIS countries.

“We see this engagement as going beyond the shores of the UAE. Therefore, we see significant interest in investing in ports, for example, in working on the monetisation of assets programme that the Indian government is undertaking. There is significant investment interest in pharmaceuticals, and food security, for the UAE and beyond. There is significant interest also in working for clean energy, renewable energy, and sustainable textiles, among others.”

Looking back at the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (Cepa) that was implemented in May 2022, the minister pointed out the landmark deal continues to explore opportunities for trade expansion across various sectors, including non-petroleum bilateral trade.

“This includes infrastructure development, travel, and tourism, in real estate, office complexes, residential complexes, planned cities… sky's the limit, if not beyond.”

UAE’s ‘unstinting support’ at G20 summit

Hailing the successful inclusion of the African Union as a full member of the G20, the Indian minister also expressed his gratitude to the UAE leadership for its unwavering support during India's presidency.

Goyal added: “I must thank all the leaders — including Sheikh Mohamed — for their unstinting support, for the huge support the UAE gave India's presidency in such challenging times. To be able to come out with massive outcomes in the form of a 100 per cent agreed consensus leaders' declaration has truly been very satisfying.”

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