Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, the Minister of State for Foreign Trade, shared the latest UAE-India trade figures, highlighting that the value of bilateral non-oil trade between the two nations reached US$45.5 billion in the first 11 months of the UAE-India Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement – a 6.9 percent increase from the previous 12-month period, despite the downturn in global trade in Q3 and Q4, 2022.
Speaking during the launch of CEPA Beyond Trade, a special event held on the opening day of the Annual Investment Meeting (AIM) in Abu Dhabi to celebrate the first anniversary of the UAE-India CEPA, the minister also stated that bilateral trade surged ahead in Q1, 2023, climbing 24.7 percent on the previous quarter, with UAE non-oil exports to India climbing an impressive 33 percent.
Dr. Al Zeyoudi said: “One of the central goals of the UAE-India CEPA is to increase the flow of goods and services between our nations – and, by doing so, stimulate key export sectors, drive industrial output and kick-start an exciting new era of prosperity. These figures underline the pace of our progress. The UAE and India have created an alliance for growth, a platform for deeper cooperation and economic integration that will reap considerable rewards over the long term.”
“Over the last year, our nations have recognized that our economies work better when we remove barriers, facilitate cooperation and build trust, and we must constantly work together to strengthen our partnership to create more opportunities for our private sectors – and deliver more prosperity for our people,” he added.
Hosted by the Ministry of Economy in partnership with AIM, ADNOC, ADNEC, The Indian People’s Forum (IPF) and Texmas, CEPA Beyond Trade was attended by a number of senior government officials, trade representatives, business leaders and entrepreneurs from the UAE and India. It featured panel discussions, cultural and culinary exhibitions and networking sessions, all which underscored the positive impact of the deal on both nations over the last 12 months.
Dr. Al Zeyoudi’s address was followed by remarks from Shri Rajesh Kumar Singh, Secretary of India’s Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, who commended the openness and transparency of the UAE-India relationship since the beginning of CEPA negotiations, which he reiterated are the essential ingredients for a successful, long-term partnership. Shri Singh was accompanied by a 20-member delegation to the UAE, reflecting the significance of the CEPA and the enormous opportunities ahead.
The first panel discussion, titled “UAE and India’s historic and future trade bond”, underlined this message, with contributions from Salah Sharaf, Vice President of the Sharaf Group; Paras Shahdadpuri, Chairman of Nikai Group; and Adeeb Ahamed, Managing Director of Lulu Financial Holdings.
There then followed panels on the growth of the regional fashion industry, featuring Khadija Al Bastaki, Executive Director of the Dubai Design District; Shatha Essa Al Mulla, CEO & Creative Director of Shatha Essa; Mahesh Advani, Founder and Managing Director at Blossom Trading; and Atinirmal Pagarani, Owner and Managing Director of Yogi Group and Fashion Curator at Vesimi Dubai, and the art industry in which the audience heard the insights of Aisha Alabbar, Founder & Owner of Aisha Alabbar Art Gallery; Vikram Divecha, Artist & Adjunct assistant professor of Art and Art History at NYUAD; and Huzefa Goga, Founder of Look Beyond 360, Architect and Aquascape Artist.
CEPA Beyond Trade concluded with a discussion on the food industry, featuring Abdullah Al Mazrouei, Founder of Danat Food Industries; Bojan Milenkovic, Head of Sales & Marketing at Al Rawabi; Faizal Haris, Executive Director of Bismi Wholesale; and Hritikesh Datar, Director, Al Adil Trading, with attendees staying on to enjoy live music performances and a street-food festival.
The UAE-India CEPA, which came into effect on May 1, 2022, was the UAE’s first ever bilateral trade deal and a cornerstone of the country’s new foreign trade agenda, which seeks deeper ties with strategic allies around the world to both accelerate economic recovery and secure vital supply chains. The deal removed or reduced tariffs on more than 80 percent of product lines, eliminated unnecessary barriers to trade, promoted investment flows into priority sectors, and offered a platform for SME cooperation and expansion.