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Dubai – the kind of international city that truly feels like a home away from home and who better than us Indians can understand it. It’s often the first country that kickstarts our foreign travel. We work there, we live there and almost all of us, have family and friends over there. Have you ever thought why is it so? Why does the UAE feel so accessible, so close to our heart and mind? It’s because this is the country that has slowly but surely, only strengthened the strong bonds of friendship with India, based on age-old religious, cultural and economic ties. And today, those ties have reached the pinnacle of their glory, ensuring a dawn of a new era.
And this is the kind of news that appeals to each one of us, especially, if you’re watching me in India. Because, just a few days back, a landmark agreement has finally been inked between India and the UAE. It’s called the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement or the CEPA, which is all set to give a major boost to the bilateral relations and economic cooperation between the two nations.
One of the main aims of the CEPA is to increase bilateral non-oil merchandise trade to a whopping 100 billion US dollars, in the next five years. On 18th February, both the countries entered into this agreement to facilitate investments in labor-intensive sectors like textiles, gems and jewellery, leather goods and food processing.
So, what does that really mean for us?
Simply put, it means many, many more opportunities in jobs, in businesses and improving the standard of living, not just for the 3 million Indians that reside in the UAE, but billions more, living in India, who I am sure at some point or the other, have thought of working or living in the UAE. And this will hold especially true for the skilled Indian workers, as the needs of the UAE labour market are fulfilled through training programs for the workforce from India.
Because, in the most tangible terms, the main aim of the CEPA agreement is to create additional job opportunities in the UAE. The ease of doing business in UAE for Indians would also be enhanced. CEPA would enable automatic registration and marketing authorization of Indian generic medicines, within 90 days on approval, in developed nations. And if you are one of those like my mom, who loves to go gold shopping in Dubai, then here’s some good news for that as well. Under the free trade agreement, India will provide duty concessions on the import of gold from the UAE, while Indian jewellery exporters will enjoy zero duty access to the UAE market. This is important as the gold trade is 16 per cent of the global trade in this segment.
And it’s not just this. Under the CEPA, the two nations will collaborate in fields of research, production and development of reliable supply chains for vaccinations. There would also be increased investments by the UAE entities in India’s rapidly growing health infrastructure.
The UAE has been home to millions of Indians like me and I have seen it first hand how our community thrives here with such easy access to all things India – be it food, films or festivals. Reports suggest that the CEPA agreement will also ease similar trade agreements for India with other GCC countries thus opening new doors of opportunities for us.
Let me know your thoughts on this important development and what it means to you, personally. Connect with me on instagram, facebook and on twitter. It’s @reviewron and @ronakkotecha on Twitter.
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