Negotiations are expected to close by the end of 2021. The signing of the agreements at the beginning of the new year. Petrochemicals, textiles, jewelry and medical equipment areas of interest. Minister of the Emirates: the aim is to "strengthen our position as a global gateway to Africa, Asia and Europe".
Abu Dhabi (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Within the next five years the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and India intend to double bilateral trade in non-oil products, touching 100 billion dollars. Abu Dhabi has recently strengthened ties with fast-growing economies, looking beyond the Middle East to invest in South and Southeast Asian markets, and relaunching its image as a global hub for business and finance, in close competition with regional rival Riyadh.
The two governments are preparing to engage in talks around an economic pact that aims to promote business, investment and jobs as confirmed by the Emirati Minister for Foreign Trade Thani Al Zeyoudi, on a visit to New Delhi. During the mission he held in-depth talks with his Indian counterpart Piyush Goyal, setting "a very aggressive and ambitious timetable" with negotiations expected to close "by December 2021".
Goyal added, "We hope to sign formal agreements in early 2022.” In early September, the government of the Emirates announced intensive work to develop "comprehensive economic agreements" with nations that show "high growth potential" in Asia as well as Africa. At the same time, India is seeking to strengthen trade relations and shore up economic recovery after the crisis triggered by the second wave of Covid-19, fueled by the Delta variant that originated on Indian soil.
Delhi is already the UAE's second-largest trading partner, accounting for about billion in non-oil trade before the pandemic. Indians are among the largest immigrant groups by number in the Gulf country and among the largest sources of foreign remittances. Finally, India is an important market for the national airlines, Emirates and Etihad. And on the political front, the emirs helped broker talks between India and Pakistan earlier this year.
Minister Goyal said the two countries would focus on a few specific sectors: petrochemicals, textiles, jewelry, medical equipment and technofinance. Also on the plate is agri-food production, a key element for the Emirates, a desert nation dependent on imports that already launched investments of seven billion dollars in 2019 to create a "food corridor" and support the development of Indian agriculture. The goal of the Emirates, Al Zeyoudi concluded, is to "strengthen our position as a global gateway to Africa, Asia and Europe."