India, UAE sign landmark trade pact, eye $100 bn in annual trade: 10 points

In a landmark deal, India and the United Arab Emirates on Friday signed a free trade agreement (FTA) to give a fillip to bilateral trade and economic ties.

The agreement, dubbed as the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), was signed and exchanged by Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal and UAE Minister of Economy Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri. Via this pact, both the nations eye $100 billion in annual trade.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan held a virtual summit today. Both leaders expressed deep satisfaction at the continuous growth in bilateral relations in all sectors, noted the Prime Minister Office (PMO) in an official statement.

Later, PM Modi took to Twitter to announce the signing of the pact. He stated, "With enhanced market access, bilateral trade in goods should rise to $100 billion and services to $15 billion in the next 5 years."

Here are 10 things to know of the first-ever India, UAE free trade agreement:

1) The trade agreement was signed during a virtual summit held by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

2) PM Modi and the Crown Prince also issued a joint vision Statement "Advancing the India and UAE Comprehensive Strategic Partnership: New Frontiers, New Milestone". The two leaders also released joint commemorative stamp on the occasion of 75th anniversary of India's independence and 50th year of UAE's foundation.

3) While signing the agreement, Goyal stated that India and the UAE are entering a "golden era" of economic and trade cooperation.

4) The pact covers areas including goods, services, rules of origin, customs procedures, government procurement, intellectual property rights, and e-commerce.

5) 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.

6)The agreement will provide significant benefits to Indian and UAE businesses, including enhanced market access and reduced tariffs.

7) The deal also covers services, investments, intellectual property, and a commitment by the UAE to grant 140,000 employment visas to highly skilled workers from India by 2030.

10) UAE is India's third-largest trade partner, and bilateral trade and investment ties will see significant enhancements if CEPA comes through. India and the UAE are trying to renew trade to a pre-pandemic level of $60 billion. UAE investments in India are almost $17 billion compared to $3 billion in 2014.

10) Meanwhile, the UAE economy ministry said by 2030 the CEPA would add $9 billion, or 1.7%, to UAE gross domestic product, exports would increase $7.6 billion, or 1.5%, and imports would rise $14.8 billion, or 3.8% The CEPA is expected to take 1.5-2 years to be implemented.

Also read: India, UAE sign trade pact to boost bilateral ties; Goyal calls it 'golden era'