Implementation of the comprehensive free trade agreement between India and the UAE would help boost the country's exports and creation of lakhs of jobs, according to exporters.
Welcoming the signing of the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) between India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Friday, Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC) Chairman Narendra Goenka said that it will further strengthen India's dominant position in the UAE.
"With India supplying $1,515 million of apparel to the UAE as against its total imports of $3,517 million, Indian apparel exports contribute a decent share of 43 per cent. The trade pact would result in a drop of 5 per cent import duty for Indian readymade garments. This will further strengthen the dominant position of Indian apparels in the UAE," Goenka said.
He added that Indian apparel exports to the UAE also cater to the needs of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman and the UK.
Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) President A Sakthivel said that the pact will be beneficial to Indian exports particularly for the labour-intensive sectors like agriculture and processed food including meat and marine products, gems and jewellery, apparel and textiles, leather and footwears.
"Having a large Indian diaspora, the UAE consumes a large quantity of Indian cereals, fruits and vegetables, tea, spices, sugar, etc. Indian companies will gain in services like travel & tourism, transportation, IT and ITES and construction services," he said.
Sharing similar views, Vikramjit Sahney, Chair of India-Arab Council, said that the pact is set to reduce tariffs for 80 per cent of goods and gives zero duty access to 90 per cent of India's exports to UAE.
"Annual bilateral trade should increase from the current level of $60 billion to $100 billion and would augment Indian exports of gems and jewellery, textiles, leather, pharmaceuticals and engineering goods," Sahney said.
“India giving tariff concessions to UAE on gold and UAE eliminating tariffs on Indian jewellery will augment exports. The UAE investment in India will increase manifold especially in health, infrastructure and renewable energy," he added.
Council for Leather Exports Chairman Sanjay Leekha said that the UAE is one of the key markets for the sector and it would also give access to certain EU countries and Africa.
"The pact would help in boosting exports and creating jobs," Leekha said.
Plastics Export Promotion Council of India (PLEXCONCIL) chairman Arvind Goenka said that currently India's annual imports of plastic raw materials are $14 billion and imports from the UAE are $800 million, so trade for plastics between India and the UAE is poised for a multi-fold growth due to this pact besides creation of about 2 lakh jobs in the sector.
"India's MSME industry will be the main beneficiary. Availability of cheaper raw materials as preferential import duty being offered by India will empower them to compete against cheap imports of finished plastic goods. Preferential access to the UAE market, as lower import duty is being offered for value added plastics and further access to WANA and CIS countries, will increase plastics exports by at least 300 per cent by 2023-24," Goenka said.
Founder chairman of Technocraft Industries India Sharad Kumar Saraf said the agreement has the potential of adding at least $2 billion in India's exports.
"It will also strengthen our ties with the UAE . Indian diaspora in the UAE will play a vital role in Indo UAE trade," he added.
FIEO Vice President Khalid Khan too said that the pact will help boost bilateral trade between both the countries.
"It will benefit both goods and services. 90 per cent goods exports will have duty-free access to the UAE which is the biggest trading partner after the US and China and getaway to the Middle East and African countries," Khan said.
Kolkata-based marine exporter Yogesh Gupta said that this is a historic event paving the way for larger economic ties and the trust between India and the UAE. "It will have a long term effect on diplomatic relations as well. A move in the right direction," he said.
India and the UAE on Friday signed the trade pact after concluding negotiations in a short time of 88 days. The pact aims to take the two-way commerce to the $100 billion mark in over five years and create about 10 lakh jobs in sectors such as apparel, plastic, leather and pharma.