The UAE businesses have applauded the historic Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) signed with India on Friday. The agreement promises to boost trade relations for both nations. The pact covers areas including goods, services, rules of origin, customs procedures, government procurement, intellectual property rights, and e-commerce.

Under such agreements, two trading partners reduce or eliminate customs duties on the maximum number of goods traded between them. Besides, they also liberalise norms to enhance trade in services and boost investments.

Industry reactions:

Yusuffali MA, Chairman of Lulu Group and Vice-Chairman of Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce:

“It is truly a landmark and very decisive moment in the long-standing Indo-UAE trade relations as both countries ink the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA). UAE & India are each other’s key trade partner with robust trade and investments in various sectors in both countries. No doubt with the signing of CEPA, many new avenues of collaborations will open, and this will benefit businesses from both countries and beyond as UAE is a key gateway to Middle East and Africa. The current bilateral trade volume of $53b is expected to double to $100 billion in Five Years. As UAE based business group with sizeable presence in India, especially in the retail and food processing sectors, we are hoping that our imports from India will see new levels of growth which will further strengthen the food security of UAE.”

Dr. Azad Moopen, Founder Chairman & Managing Director, Aster DM Healthcare

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.

Bharat Bhatia, Founder & CEO of Conares

Conares is based in Dubai and was created here in the UAE. For over 30 years, we have developed an extensive network of clientele, not just in the Middle East, but all around the world. We have plans to explore the possibility in invest backward integration in Steel Making in India. This new trade deal between the two nations creates new opportunities for us to expand our footprint in India.

Abdul Jebbar PB, Group Managing Director, Hotpack Global

For Hotpack, India offers both export and import opportunities galore which would yield long term benefits and rethinking from our side for future business investments of higher proportions in India. Although India is currently UAE’s second largest trade partner, such a move will surely anchor the already strong relations between UAE and India to all new dimensions enhancing global competitiveness, quality standards and empowering economic development. Hotpack is a global brand. We are the market leaders, here in the UAE and we have been looking to increase our presence in India. This new trade deal is going to open up a lot of doors for us in India and aid us in our plans to expand there. We are confident that we will meet our goal of being recognized as the premier global brand in the packaging industry by 2025.

Kamal Vachani, Group Director and Partner at Al Maya Group:

The Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) between India and the UAE is truly a matter of significant importance in the context of it 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 at the next level.

Dr. Dhananjay Datar, Chairman and MD, Al Adil Group

The UAE is India's one of the leading trade partners. In the recent past there has been a tremendous increase in shipping freight charges for goods from India. On this historic occasion, I am expecting that these issues will be addressed and provide a reasonable solution. As an exporter of Indian foodstuff, I am sure a reduction in shipping freight cost will pave way to enhance the trade relationship leading to India becoming the largest trade partner. I feel this is a landmark initiative and will go a long way in strengthening the bilateral relationship between both the countries.

Dr. Ram Buxani, Chairman, ITL-Cosmos group

It is indeed heartening that India-UAE Trade Agreemeent has finally become a reality which doubtlessly will cement our trade and commerce relationship. This is just formalisation of meeting of the minds which has already been in existence since centuries. Dubai in particular and UAE in general investing billions of Dirhams on infrastructure is sort of demonstration of confidence on Indian expatriates living here. It is also self confidence that Indians are here to stay and contribute to local economy. UAE constantly keeps on improving life style and facilities attracting more and more Indians to come here and make UAE their home.

Abhishek Sharma, Co-founder & COO at Fashinza

It is an encouraging sign for businesses in both India and the UAE to see further strengthening of already strong trade relations between the two countries. The Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) is just another step in the long history of amicable and productive economic cooperation between the two countries. Both countries have relaxed regulations and laws to invite more foreign investment into their nation. Both Indian and UAE investors have taken advantage of these initiatives and cross-border investments between the two countries has greatly increased over the past year. Now, with the signing of the CEPA, we should expect exponential growth in trade between the two countries.

James, Mathew, Managing director, UHY James

Augmenting the ties shared between India and the UAE will be the signing of the bilateral Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) during a virtual meeting between the leaders of both countries. The CEPA agreement is a strategic move taken towards eliminating customs duties on the maximum number of goods traded between the two countries. With UAE strengthening its stance as a global trading hub and India shifting gears towards fostering meaningful trade partnerships, the CEPA agreement is set to more than double the bilateral trade in goods to USD 100 billion within the next 5 years.

Adeeb Ahamed, Managing Director, LuLu Financial Holdings

The Indian fintech industry is estimated to touch US$150 billion by 2025, and the UAE is home to over 50 per cent of the fintech companies in the MENA region. Combine the potential of these two markets, and the possibilities to generate employment, value and ecosystem growth are endless. The potential for interoperable solutions exists and CEPA may well pave the way for companies in the UAE to seek investments and expand into India, and vice versa.

Khawla Alblooshi, Senior Analyst at Dubai Economy and Tourism

India’s culture has always assimilated to ours through values, food, and family. The concept revolving around the core values are very similar, making understanding easier and relationship stronger. India has a rich culture, astonishing cuisine, and an interesting history. There have been a lot of trade movements between the UAE and India since before the unification. I believe this comprehensive agreement will make these bounds even stronger between us.

Eissa Al Ali, Head of Operations and Services at ADIB

The agreement, in the presence of leaders of the UAE and India, reflects the keenness of both countries to boost their collaboration across different sectors for a better future of their people. We have long seen the bilateral relations between India and UAE as an example of progressive relations that have brought economic and trade benefits over the years. Both countries enjoy a history of mutual understanding of the importance of expanding cooperation in key sectors. I expect that this agreement will open new investment opportunities across new sectors in the UAE that will bring us closer to establishing a knowledge-based economy and increasing the country's competitiveness.

Ahmed Al Yafei, Founder of Yafei Productions

I believe that the historic relationship between the UAE and India have always been a key element in the development of both countries. We welcome any step that sets an example of countries joining hands to not just hope for a better future, but pursue it through such partnership agreements. Both countries have long enjoyed deeply rooted relations. We grew up watching Bollywood films, eating Indian food, and living side by side as work colleagues, friends, and families. Such agreements are an opportunity to improve the economy of both countries and strengthen our ties as people.

Joy Alukkas , Chairman Joyalukkas Group - for the India UAE Trade partnership:

This is a landmark initiative. This is a consolidation of the comprehensive strategic trade partnership between UAE and India. UAE is one of India's largest trade partner and a leading export destination. This initiative will lead to enhanced business initiatives since I feel there will be many catalysts that will be beneficial to multiple industries in India.

Dr Thumbay Moideen, Founder president, Thumbay Group

The new bilateral trade agreement, between UAE and India, has deepened the relationship between the two nations, strengthening the overall economic outlook in the coming years. New investments mean strategic growth led by fresh job opportunities, reducing unemployment, and raising the living standards and also catalyzing the social progress of the two fastest developing nations in the continent. It’s a historical move and the comprehensive framework will help manufacturers and service providers across all sectors to greatly build and improve two-way investment flows. Lastly, I would like to say we are extremely proud and happy to be in this beautiful country, UAE, and do business here. This is a home away from home and excellent place to do business.

Shamlal Ahamed, MD – International Operations, Malabar Gold & Diamonds

The Economic Partnership Agreement is a great step forward for both the nations and will result in tremendous development. While it will help UAE establish itself as the ‘Jewellery Gateway’ to the world and further enhance the already robust jewellery retail and wholesale business here reinforcing UAE as the preferred jewellery destination offering the best quality, design options and price to shoppers (resident, transit, and tourists alike). India will be able to boost ‘Make in India; Market to the World’ initiative and can promote OEM manufacturing of jewellery in India for global brands in addition to boosting jewellery exports, creating employment and skill development opportunities in the country.

Abdulla Al Nuaimi, Chief Executive Officer, Dubai National Insurance & Reinsurance

“It’s a historic day today as the CEPA is being signed. CEPA will be a game changer in terms of cooperation between UAE & India who have shared a long relationship on bilateral trade over a span of 8 decades. The sky is the limit for trade and investment between the two countries and I wish the partnership all success.

Paras Shahdadpuri, Chairman, Nikai Group of Companies

India-UAE trade has been stagnating at $60 billion for some time and this CEPA is likely to achieve 70% growth to $100 billion in the next 3 years. Also, UAE can be a hub for the Indian manufactured products to the surrounding GCC and African countries. This is a very major and welcoming development which will further deepen the comprehensive and strategy relationship between India and the UAE.

Mohammed Shaheen, CEO, Seven Capitals

Both nations are entering a brilliant era of economic and trade cooperation. The India-UAE CEPA aspires to take bilateral trade to over $115 billion within five years. The agreement will take India-UAE economic and commercial engagement to the next level. The bilateral relations between India and the UAE have strengthened in all areas, and both sides have embarked upon a comprehensive strategic partnership.

Bal Krishen, Chairman and CEO, Century Financial

The agreement signals a closer collaboration between India and the Middle East from a geopolitical perspective. And it could pave the way for similar agreements between India and other GCC countries. In some ways, this deal paves the way for closer cooperation between South Asia and the Middle East. Signing the free trade agreement would unleash a golden era in the bilateral partnership and increase trade, investment, and technological collaboration, creating employment opportunities in various sectors for both countries. Agreements in climate, energy, health, and education show that both countries have moved beyond traditional spheres and are expanding into new areas. The relationship can be now be termed as of strategic nature.

Rizwan Sajan Chairman and Founder Danube Group

Both the nations should focus on the production/ manufacturing/real estate industry in India and rework on the reforms in these sectors will greatly assist in the growth of the affordable housing sector, logistics and growth in the APEC region. Reduction of tariffs and concessions is another focal point which should be consider by both the parties alike. The UAE is a global hub and has the capacity to be a great re-export market for India, this should be another bridge which should be crossed.

Khalifa Aldhaen

We welcome Prime Minister Modi in his second home, the UAE. The two countries share long and positive economic relationship and the CEPA agreement further enhances this relationship between the UAE and India

Bishal Kandel, Master Fitness Trainer

What a legendary move is this! The UAE has always been a step ahead with each of its initiatives, and this is only going to bolster its presence on the world map. Congratulations to the UAE and India. This agreement will not only enhance trade and commerce, but will also serve as a catalyst for individuals to grow, learn and develop. This indeed is a splendid initiative.

Kabir Malkani, resident, entrepreneur

The UAE and India have always shared cordial relationship, and the signing of this deal will further accelerate the relationship. I am excited to witness this new agenda, and am confident that this agreement will a historic one! I extend my good wishes to both the two countries and wish them progress with this initiative.

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