Indian FM meets UAE President with letter from Modi during visit for trade discussion

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UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed received a letter from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi ahead of a strategic dialogue between the two countries furthering the free trade agreement signed earlier this year.

The letter was delivered by Indian Foreign Minister Dr S. Jaishankar during a meeting with the UAE President at al-Shati Palace, the Emirates News Agency (WAM) reported.

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Jaishankar and Sheikh Mohamed discussed bilateral relations and cooperation across various sectors as well as several regional and international issues of mutual concern, according to WAM.

Apart from the high-level meeting, Jaishankar met his UAE counterpart, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, to discuss and broaden economic relations as part of the 14th India-UAE Joint Commissions meeting linked to the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership Agreement (CEPA).

Indian Foreign Minister Dr S. Jaishankar in a meeting with his UAE counterpart Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed. (WAM)
Indian Foreign Minister Dr S. Jaishankar in a meeting with his UAE counterpart Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed. (WAM)

The two sides discussed ways to further strengthen the energy partnership and two-way investments, according to a press release by India’s Ministry of External Affairs.

The ministers also “emphasized the importance of promoting start-ups and entrepreneurship in different fields such as fintech, edutech, healthtech, agritech, logistics and supply chains,” in addition to noting the possibility of “linking instant payment platforms in either country, such as through the United Payment Interface (UPI) of India.”

During the meeting, Sheikh Abdullah highlighted the success of “the UAE and India… in establishing an advanced and sustainable model for their strategic relations, which has yielded many significant achievements across several sectors, adding that the two countries are eager to strengthen them to advance their common interests and those of their peoples,” WAM reported.

Meanwhile, his Indian counterpart “stressed the keenness to strengthen and develop UAE-India strategic relations to meet the aspirations of their leaderships, noting that the strides made within the framework of their partnership are a source of pride and a driver to seek more successes to achieve common development goals,” according to the WAM report.

Among those present in the meeting were Minister of State for Foreign Trade Thani al-Zeyoudi, Minister of State for International Cooperation Reem al-Hashemy, Minister of State Ahmed Ali al-Sayegh, the UAE president’s diplomatic adviser Dr. Anwar Gargash, and UAE Ambassador to India Dr Ahmed Abdulrahman al-Banna.

Free trade deal

The CEPA was signed on February 18 and came into effect on May 1, 2022.

It is expected to boost annual bilateral non-oil trade from $60 billion to $100 billion within the next three to five years, India’s prime minister’s office said at the time.

“There will be a huge flow of trade and investments between both nations and it’s going to open the door for more business opportunities,” Thani al-Zeyoudi told Reuters in February after the deal was made public.

The agreement eliminates 80 percent of tariffs on UAE and India goods, while all tariffs are to be removed within ten years, al-Zeyoudi said.

UAE commodities like aluminum, copper and petrochemicals would benefit from the removal of tariffs, he said.

The deal also covers services, investments, intellectual property, and a commitment by the UAE to grant 140,000 employment visas to highly skilled workers from India by 2030.

India is the second largest trading partner of the UAE, where each year billions of dollars in remittances are sent home by more than three million Indians working in the Gulf state.

The UAE economy ministry said by 2030 the CEPA would add $9 billion, or 1.7 percent, to UAE gross domestic product, exports would increase $7.6 billion, or 1.5 percent, and imports would rise $14.8 billion, or 3.8 percent.

The CEPA is expected to take 1.5 to 2 years to be implemented.

With Reuters

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