India's non-petroleum exports to UAE climb 14% within months of CEPA implementation

Deal is expected to boost non-oil trade between the two countries to $100bn in five years

Containers at Abu Dhabi's Khalifa Port. The UAE and India Cepa lifts 80 per cent of tariffs on goods in both countries. Reuters
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India’s exports to the UAE, excluding petroleum products, grew by 14.5 per cent annually in the three months since the two countries began the introduction of a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA).

Exports from India grew to $5.92 billion in the three months from June to August, up from $5.17bn recorded for the same period in 2021, state news agency Wam said on Monday, citing data from the Indian Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

Although implementation of the CEPA began on May 1, the ministry said the exports data of the first 30 days was not included in the study as it was considered a transition period.

"The UAE-India CEPA is already creating a significant positive impact on bilateral trade," Wam cited the Indian ministry as saying.

"India's global non-petroleum exports during June-August 2022 grew by 3 per cent annually. This implies that the growth rate of India's non-petroleum exports to the UAE is almost five times as that of India's non-petroleum exports to the world."

The CEPA, signed in February between the UAE and India, Asia’s third-largest economy, is expected to boost non-oil trade between the two countries to $100bn in five years, from $60bn currently.

It is expected to add 1.7 per cent, or $8.9bn to the UAE's gross domestic product. The deal will also boost exports by 1.5 per cent, or $7.6bn by 2030, Abdulla bin Touq, UAE Minister of Economy, said at the time of signing the agreement.

It marks a new phase of co-operation and will open additional avenues of investment and trade for companies in India and the UAE.

It lifts 80 per cent of tariffs on UAE and India goods, with plans to scrap all fees within 10 years, Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi, the UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade, said in February.

India’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry expects the country’s exports to the UAE to increase further in the coming months.

"A series of trade promotion events in the UAE during the current financial year are planned," the ministry said.

Meanwhile, India’s imports from the UAE during the June-August period also grew to $5.61bn from $5.56bn from a year earlier.

The UAE-India Cepa is already creating a significant positive impact on bilateral trade
India's Ministry of Commerce and Industry

The trade increase in both directions is significant "in the context of global macro-economic headwinds, including policy tightening in advanced economies, global growth slowdown and a reduction in international merchandise trade”, the ministry said.

The UAE, which has already signed CEPAs with Israel and Indonesia, is keen on a similar pact with Turkey to further boost international trade.

The UAE and Turkey in April began talks on a deal that is expected to double bilateral trade from $13.7bn, the UAE Ministry of Economy said at the time.

A similar pact with South Korea is expected to be finalised by the end of 2022. This is aimed at enhancing the economic partnership between the two countries to a minimum of $20bn in the next three to five years.

The UAE is also holding CEPA negotiations with Kenya, Georgia and the Philippines.

Updated: September 26, 2022, 8:40 AM