UAE - The Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (Cepa) has had a very impressive impact on the UAE-India trade volumes, with the bilateral trade between the two countries growing to to $57.8 billion (Dh212.5 billion) between April and November 2022, up from $45.3 billion in the same period last year, data from the Indian Consulate in Dubai showed on Friday.

The figures show a surge of 27.5 per cent and an increase of $12.5 billion. During the same period, India’s exports to the UAE have seen a growth of 19.32 per cent, reaching $20.8 billion from $17.45 billion, an increase of $3.35 billion in value terms. Besides, several other significant partnerships have been launched since May 2022 related to energy, food security, education and healthcare.

Marking a successful year of signing of Cepa, a special business event was organised in Dubai on Friday. The event was organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) in association with Embassy of India, Abu Dhabi, Consulate General of India, Dubai and Dubai Chambers, which witnessed the participation of more than 200 leading businesses from India and the UAE.

Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade, spoke about the immense opportunities and advantages offered by Cepa. “We are still doing the analysis. The bilateral trade has surpassed $49 billion, surpassing the numbers of 2020 by 77 per cent. The Dubai Chamber of Commerce also reported that they have registered many Indian companies in 2022. We will do a full analysis by May 1 after the completion of one year of the full implementation of the agreement. The ultimate goal is to reach $100 billion within five years for non-oil trade between both nations and trade in services to $15 billion.”

He added: “Several significant partnerships have been launched since May 2022 related to energy, food security, education and healthcare. Advanced technology, renewable energy, real estate, food security among many others. Cepa reflects these ambitions. All indications so far are positive.”

Stakeholders on both sides underlined that the UAE and India have already started leveraging upon the duty waivers and enhanced market access offered under the Cepa.

Sunjay Sudhir, Ambassador, Embassy of India, Abu Dhabi, UAE said: “It’s a glorious way forward. We have figures already for the April to November 2022 period. We’ve already seen an increase in bilateral trade of about 30 per cent. India’s exports have increased by about 19-20 per cent. As the awareness grows about the benefits, we’re also seeing a steep rise in the number of certificates of origin being issued on both sides. This means more and more trade. As trade increases, more and more awareness increases, greater numbers of exporters on both sides will join in, creating a lot of new opportunities. I’ve heard, some companies have started exporting a lot of manufactured goods from the UAE to India, which they never used to do before Cepa. So, it’s giving rise to new opportunities and unexplored avenues. We’ve already seen an increase in startups. Cepa also talks about the digital world and a lot of start-ups are in the digital space. In the last several months there has been a huge influx of Indian start-ups into Abu Dhabi and Dubai.”

The Cepa entered into force on May 1, 2022. The agreement has been operating smoothly for over 10 months now.

Omar Khan, Executive Director- International Offices, Dubai International Chamber said: “Our pledge to you is that we are upgrading Duboai. We are improving the infrastructure as always about improving the economic system. We have about 320,000 members under our radar and we’re working with them, including Indian business professional councils, to make Dubai a better, faster, more efficient and value adding ecosystem for your business growth and not just for the GCC, we can accelerate your growth into emerging markets as well.”

Three sectors that have seen significant growth are gems and jewellery, agriculture as well as engineering goods.

Reflecting on the growth of the gems and jewellery industry, Chandu Siroya, vice-chairman of Dubai Gold and Jewellery Group said: “In our company, we have added 100 shipments in the last nine months. Total value stood at about Dh320 million approximately under Cepa, totalling about 2,028kg of gold. This is only jewellery. I see an ease of doing business now. Earlier, my customers from America would place the order with my suppliers and then come back. Now they don’t need to do that, they bring their gold to Dubai. And they see it here and under one roof. They can see jewellery from all over India - Kolkata, South India, delhi Jewellery. But now with Cepa in Dubai you can buy jewellery from all over India. It’s duty free so it doesn’t matter if they buy from here or from India.”

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