The Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) between the UAE and India paves the way for a new era of joint economic growth and prosperity, observed Ahmed Mahboob Musabih, Director General of Dubai Customs and CEO of Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation.
He was speaking on Tuesday at the 3rd Edition of LOGIX India, being held in Dubai, which aims at working out ways and means to improve the prospects of the freight and logistics market.
The CEPA will help “improve mutual access to markets, enhances economic and investment opportunities and paves the way for broader prospects,” said the Dubai Customs chief.
“The agreement aims to raise the value of non-oil trade from $40 billion annually to $100 billion within five years, which creates tremendous opportunities for the business community and companies in both countries,” he said.
Key Logistics players in India and the UAE are attending the three-day event, supported by the UAE’s National Association of Freight and Logistics (NAFL).
Besides strengthening strategic cooperation, the Dubai Customs chief said CEPA “has also established tremendous opportunities in vital sectors such as trade, investment, hospitality, aviation, and renewable energy and petrochemicals,” noting that the UAE, thanks to its advanced and pioneering services, has established its position “as a major logistics gateway for the flow of international trade and investment around the world.”
Nadia Abdul Aziz, President of the UAE’s National Association of Freight and Logistics (NAFL), suggested a logistics corridor apart from a trade corridor for which “more investments should be made into sea freight between the two countries, so that the logistics cost can be reduced.”
Nadia said more synergy should be created between the Indian and the UAE freight forwarders, who will be “the main strategic players who facilitate more trade between the two countries.”
“If a logistics corridor is created, the cost can be reduced, so also the food inflation if smart logistics is applied.”
Omar Alkhan Abdulla, Director of International Offices at the Dubai Chamber, said the CEPA target of $100 billion can be achieved much before the five-year target “if the trade is diversified and India rediscover itself.”
“Dubai Chamber has plans to open two or three more offices in India, apart from its one in Mumbai. With all these steps, we hope the target can be achieved much before five years,” he said.
“The LOGIX conference has helped in moving people more closer,” Abdulla observed.
“Dubai Chamber, in collaboration with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), plans to increase the roadshows to help India rediscover it in different regions. We are also trying to attract more Indian companies and Indian multinationals and increase the trade and trade diversification,” he added.
Humaid Bin Salem, Chairman, International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), UAE, said: “The event is an ideal opportunity for the cargo and logistics organizations to meet and set targets as spelt out in the CEPA. The Indian logistics market is estimated to grow to $380 billion in 2025 and the freight and logistics market in UAE will generate over $31.41 billion in 2026.”
Dr Ajay Sahai, Director General & CEO of Federation of Indian Export Organizations (FIEO), suggested setting up of a permanent India mart in the UAE, on the same lines of China Mart in Dubai.
“We want Indian products be showcased in Dubai, so that we look beyond the UAE for marketing them in the entire GCC and Africa, as there are lots of buyers from Africa. They come to Dubai for placing orders. If Indian products are displayed here, they can place orders and we can back the mart with warehousing and distribution center,” he said.
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