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India-UAE trade set to surpass $88 bn following signing of free trade deal

New Delhi The foreign ministers of India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Tuesday reviewed bilateral ties in areas ranging from food security to two-way trade, which is projected to surpass $88 billion in the current fiscal year following the signing of a free trade deal.

External affairs minister S Jaishankar and his UAE counterpart Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan met at Hyderabad House and reviewed relations in different areas, especially trade, investment, food security, energy, defence, space and education. They also exchanged views on the global situation, various regional hotspots and cooperation between the two side at the UN Security Council.

The UAE is India’s third largest trading partner after the US and China, and also one of the country’s most important strategic partners in West Asia. The emirates are home to 3.5 million Indians, one of the largest concentrations of expatriates in the region. Sheikh Abdullah arrived in India with a high-level delegation on Monday for a two-day visit.

The ministers noted bilateral trade had shown “appreciable growth” since the bilateral Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) came into force on May 1. India’s exports to the UAE during April-September 2022 were worth $16 billion, an increase of 24% year-on-year, while imports increased 38% to reach $28.4 billion in the same period, the external affairs ministry said.

Bilateral trade is projected to surpass $88 billion during the current fiscal, compared to $73 billion for the last financial year, people familiar with the matter said. Two-way trade during April-August 2022 was 38% higher compared to the corresponding period last year, and exports during this period increased 27% while imports surged 45%, largely due to higher crude prices, they said.

Both countries are discussing trade in Indian rupees and dirhams and making use of India’s Unified Payments Interface (UPI) as a payment platform for remittances from the 3.5-million Indian community in the UAE, the people added.

The new I2U2 grouping, which brings together India, Israel, the UAE and the US, is also working in the field of food security and clean energy. India and the UAE are discussing investments of $2 billion from the emirates to develop food corridors in India and another $300 million for building a 300 GW hybrid wind and solar power plant.


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