In a meeting with the United Arab Emirates, India flagged some issues pertaining to its agricultural sector comprising problems faced by rice exporters.
The bilateral meeting was held between senior officials of both nations- S Vikramjit Singh, MP, Chair, India-Arab Council, and Member of the India-UAE Joint Task Force who carried out negotiations with the Minister of State for Foreign Trade of UAE– Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi.
There are multiple bilateral agreements already in place between India and the UAE and S Vikramjit Singh pointed out that trade with the UAE would take new dimensions owing to the existing agreements. Additionally, he also gave emphasis on the issues faced by the Indian Rice Exporters so that a streamlined exchange of goods and agro-commodities can take place between the two.
In the meeting, major discussions took place, and officials of both nations put forth their stance regarding trade conditions after the conclusion of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) that took place between India and the UAE.
What is CEPA?
It is a kind of free trade pact that covers negotiation on the trade in services and investment, and other areas of economic partnership. It provides an institutional mechanism to encourage and improve trade between the two countries.
It is a comprehensive agreement that covers trade in goods and services, agro-commodities, pharmaceutical products, telecom, etc. The agreement has turned pretty effective after coming into force on 1st of May’2022 as it is more comprehensive than existing Free Trade Agreements.
How Will CEPA Benefit India?
Overall, India will benefit from preferential market access provided by the UAE on over 97 percent of its tariff lines which account for 99 percent of Indian exports to the UAE in value terms. Particularly from labor-intensive sectors such as Gems and Jewellery, Textiles, leather, footwear, sports goods, plastics, furniture, agricultural and wood products, engineering products, medical devices, and Automobiles.
In regards to trade-in services, Indian service providers will have enhanced access to around 111 sub-sectors from the 11 broad service sectors including the grain sectors. Indian rice exporters will benefit majorly from the agreement as it opens a streamlined trade route between the two nations.
CEPA is expected to increase the total value of bilateral trade in goods to over US$100 billion and trade in services to over US$ 15 billion within five years.
Although the agreement had envisioned a target of USD 100 billion worth of trade, given the size of India’s market and the access that UAE would give to India, much more could be achieved. Noting that the agreement was an outcome of the vision of the leaders of the two nations, the Commerce Secretary said that for India, UAE would be a gateway to the world.
The United Arab Emirates is known for re-exporting premium quality rice. It majorly sources rice from India. Rice importers in the UAE source Basmati rice from India and re-export it to other countries.
As long as the two countries stick to the terms of such comprehensive bilateral trade deals, a swift resolution to agri-sector issues can be achieved. Additionally, the trade between the two countries would prosper.
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