India, UAE Seal Bilateral Pact to Deepen Trade and Investment Ties

According to the agreement, metals, minerals, petrochemicals and petroleum products from the UAE would see a reduction in duties.

The trade deal inked Friday cutting duties on almost 90% of goods traded between India and the United Arab Emirates, will create one million jobs in the next five years, a senior Indian trade official said.

Trade secretary B.V.R. Subrahmanyam, speaking Saturday in an online briefing, called the deal a “win-win” and said it would kick-in between April and May. 

India is seeking to deepen trade relationships to help its economy recover from the pandemic. It sees the deal with the UAE, its third-largest trade partner, as a springboard for moving further on agreements with other Gulf Arab nations.

The UAE, meanwhile, is seeking to burnish its reputation as a global hub amid regional competition with Saudi Arabia. The oil-rich Gulf state signed a similar pact with Turkey a few days before finalizing the deal with India. 

The pact signed Friday cuts duties on metals, minerals, petrochemicals and petroleum products sold by the UAE in India, while giving India’s exporters an advantage in items including leather, footwear, pharmaceuticals and textiles, Indian trade minister Piyush Goyal said while announcing the deal. 

The agreement includes a safeguard mechanism to protect against any sudden surge in import volumes, according to Goyal. 

India also agreed to concessions on UAE gold imports up to 200 tons, while the UAE agreed to eliminate duties on gems and jewelery, Subrahmanyam said. 

The deal came after a virtual summit earlier in the day between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed al Nahyan.

Trade between India and the UAE totaled $53 billion from April to December 2021, according to India’s trade ministry.

India imported goods worth $33 billion from the UAE during the period, while exporting $20 billion to the UAE.

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