India on Friday signed the first-ever bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) with the United Arab Emirates (UAE). This is the historic trade pact whose negotiations, launched in September 2021, have been completed in a record time.
The Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) agreement was signed on Friday by Union Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal during a bilateral meeting with the UAE delegation led by Minister of Economy, Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri and Minister of State for Foreign Trade Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi.
Speaking at the virtual summit, PM Narendra Modi said, “I am very happy that both our countries have signed the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement today. It is noteworthy that India & UAE was able to conclude negotiations on such an important agreement in less than 3 months.”
He added, “We can encourage startups in India and UAE through joint incubation and joint financing. For the skill development of our citizens, we can also cooperate on modern institutions of excellence… Following the visit of LG of Jammu and Kashmir to the UAE, many UAE companies have shown interest in investing in the UT. We welcome investment by the UAE in all sectors including logistics, healthcare, hospitality in J&K.”
The summit will be held between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed al Nahyan. Both leaders are likely to lay out their vision of the historic and friendly bilateral relations, at a time when UAE is marking the 50th anniversary of its foundation and India is celebrating 75 years of its independence.
The Joint Vision Statement of the trade pact laid out contours of the future course of bilateral relations and also highlighted specific areas of focus in the field of defence, energy and climate, among others.
The vision statement talked about boosting bilateral trade to $100 billion in five years, supporting energy transition and working on a low-carbon future, establishing a Joint Hydrogen task force to bump up technology and establishing an IIT in the UAE. The deal will also help reduce import duties on most of the Indian goods exported to the Emirates.