UAE ministers and senior officials on Saturday highlighted the importance of the landmark agreement between the Emirates and India, saying it will advance the technology agenda and create more job opportunities.
The Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) is a "significant milestone" that will usher in a new phase of co-operation in all sectors, a UAE Government Media Office statement said.
This is expected to support the growth of national industries, enhance its competitiveness, accelerate the pace of adopting advanced technology and create competitive advantages in new fields, said Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and managing director and group chief executive of Adnoc.
"This partnership holds promising opportunities, based on the huge potential of India. The new agreement between the UAE and India aims at enhancing partnerships in industrial fields and supports innovation, in addition to providing more job opportunities," Dr Al Jaber said.
"The two parties intend to expand strategic cooperation and start a new era focusing on increasing bilateral trade volume, improving mutual access to markets and enhancing economic, industrial and investment opportunities.”
CEPA is expected to boost non-oil trade between the UAE and India, Asia's third-largest economy, to $100 billion in five years from $60bn currently, marks a new phase of strategic cooperation and will open additional avenues of investment and trade.
The agreement – the first under the UAE’s international agreements development programme, which was launched as part of the Projects of the 50 agenda – is also expected to add 1.7 per cent, or $8.9bn, to the UAE's gross domestic product and boost exports by 1.5 per cent, or $7.6bn, by 2030.
The UAE is India's third-biggest trading partner, while the South Asian nation is the Emirates' second-largest trading partner. Trade volumes between the two hit $60bn in 2019, a KPMG report showed.
More than 3.4 million Indians live in the UAE, making them the largest overseas population in the country.
CEPA is part of the UAE's "bold plans" to build an attractive, competitive, resilient, sustainable and knowledge-driven economy for the next 50 years, said Abdulla bin Touq, Minister of Economy.
"It is also more than an economic partnership; it is a testament to our deep, fraternal and strategically important relationship with India, one built on decades of close cooperation across everything from investment and innovation to energy and the environment. It represents a new era of progress, prosperity and opportunity for our nation.”
Thani Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, said CEPA reflects the UAE's vision of using trade and investment as key drivers of sustainable economic growth.
"It will enhance ties in key economic sectors, boost exports, encourage foreign direct investments, attract skilled talent and create huge opportunities for companies in both countries."
Small businesses and start-ups will benefit from the significant trade, investment and economic opportunities the deal will deliver, said Ahmad Al Falasi, Minister of State for Entrepreneurship and SMEs.
The SME sector represents more than 94 per cent of the total number of companies operating in the UAE and provide jobs for more than 86 per cent of the private sector's workforce, according to the Ministry of Economy.
"On a broader scale, this deal will cement the UAE’s position as an economic hub, catalysing the economic diversification and sustainable growth agenda of the country, and expanding the presence of UAE companies and trade in global markets, while increasing exports and attracting qualitative investment," he said.
Suhail Al Mazrouei, Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, said the partnership between the UAE and India supports key industries, including energy, precious metals, chemicals and petroleum derivatives.
The agreement will also "allow business councils in both countries to jointly explore new growth and prosperity opportunities, especially in energy and infrastructure sectors", he said.
Technology will be a key pillar of CEPA, and it would establish a new era of digital innovation for the two nations, said Sultan Al Olama, Minister of State for Digital Economy, AI and Remote Work Applications.
The UAE is leveraging the technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, having launched the Industry 4.0 programme last October, aimed at increasing productivity and the development of innovative products, boosting manufacturing by 30 per cent and adding $6.8bn to the economy by 2031.
“The signing of this historic agreement reflects the continuing commitment of the leadership in the UAE and India to stimulate growth in the digital economy within the framework of a clear and strategic vision for the future," Mr Al Olama said.
Sarah Al Amiri, UAE Minister of State for Advanced Technology, said industrial success will be developed by integrating Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies and partnerships with other forward-looking countries.
"This agreement will open new horizons for investors and contribute to our aim of doubling the industrial sector’s GDP contribution to Dh300bn, creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs," Ms Al Amiri said.