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India–UAE CEPA: Similar pacts being worked out with Gulf Cooperation Council countries, says Goyal

Union Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal (Hindustan Times)Premium
Union Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal (Hindustan Times)

  • Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal says labour-intensive industries like textiles, gems and jewellery, leather goods and footwear and the food processing industry will be prominent among those to benefit the most
  • The minister says India–UAE CEPA will create a minimum of 10 lakh jobs for Indian citizens

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Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said the India-UAE Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), signed Friday as a landmark pact, will open up new markets for Indian goods and services. He said with this pact, labour-intensive industries, MSMEs and start-ups will benefit the most, creating one million more jobs in India. The minister said India–UAE CEPA will create a minimum of 10 lakh jobs for Indian citizens.

Under CEPA, India and UAE aim to increase bilateral goods trade over the next five years to $100 billion. Goyal said a similar agreement with the Gulf Cooperation Council is being worked out. 

Speaking about the sectoral gains, he said the labour-intensive industries like textiles, gems and jewellery, leather goods and footwear and the food processing industry will be prominent among those to benefit the most.

Goyal said the CEPA is a balanced, fair, comprehensive and equitable partnership agreement, which will give enhanced market access for India in both goods and services. "It will create jobs for our youth, open new markets for our startups, make our businesses more competitive & boost our economy" he added.

The CEPA was finalised and signed in a record time of just 88 days, and will come into force in less than 90 days, by early May, the minister said. He said: “Around 90 per cent of products exported from India to UAE will attract zero duty with the implementation of the agreement. 80 per cent lines of trade will attract zero duty, remaining 20 per cent does not affect our exports much, so this is a win-win agreement."

What does CEPA provide:

1) CEPA provides for automatic registration and marketing authorisation of Indian generic medicines in 90 days, once they are approved in any of the developed countries. This will give big market access to Indian medicines.

2) Indian jewellery exporters will get duty-free access to the UAE, which currently imposes a 5 per cent customs duty on such products. This will substantially raise its jewellery exports since Indian designed jewellery enjoys a great market reputation. The gems and jewellery sector expects to increase its exports to $10 billion by 2023.

3) The CEPA will not only improve the competitiveness of Indian products but also provide strategic advantages to India. “Since UAE functions as a trading hub, the Agreement will help provide us market entry points to Africa, the Middle East and Europe," the minister said.

Agreement with GCC in 2022:

Piyush Goyal said the government looks forward to conclude a similar economic partnership agreement with the Gulf Cooperation Council countries during this year itself.

He said the Secretary-General of the GCC has expressed the desire to fast track the negotiations and added “we believe a similar agreement on trade would be concluded with the GCC in this year itself."

GCC is a union of six countries in the Gulf region, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, and Bahrain, with a combined nominal GDP of $1.6 trillion.

 

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