The proposed free trade agreement between India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) holds huge potential for both the countries to boost trade, investment and the investors here are extremely keen to invest in the country, union minister of commerce and industry Piyush Goyal said in Dubai on Friday.

Addressing a press meet during the occasion of the Dubai Expo 2020, Goyal said the FTA will be a win-win for both the countries. Last month, India and UAE formally launched negotiations on FTA which is termed as Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) and likely to be signed by next year March.

“The UAE is a gateway to all of Africa and many other parts of the world. UAE also has a huge Indian diaspora, has a huge market for products like textiles, gems and jewellery, leather, footwear, and food products, which are labour oriented and provide economic opportunities,” said Goyal.

While India-UAE trade has also been impacted by the pandemic, it was valued close to $60 billion in 2019-20 with UAE being India’s third-largest trading partner, and UAE being India’s second-largest export destination after the US, with an export value of approximately $29 billion in 2019-20. UAE is also the eighth largest investor in India, having invested $11 billion between April 2000 and March 2021.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a virtual address at the India Pavilion in the Dubai Expo 2020 said the event will go a long way to build deep and historical relations between UAE and India, attract investment from across the globe in sectors like health, textiles, infrastructure and services apart from others.

The Dubai Expo 2020 is the largest event in the region post the pandemic which will continue for six months till March 2022. Modi said India is participating with one of the largest pavilions in the Dubai Expo which will showcase investment opportunities in the country.

The prime minister said the Centre has undertaken several reforms in the last seven years which will continue. “There is openness, opportunity and growth in India. Today, India is one of the most open countries in the world in learning, perspective and innovation. We want to invite everyone to invest in our nation and be a part of our growth story. India has a combination of legacy and start-ups,” he said.

Goyal said India will produce 30 crore Covid vaccines in October which is a global record, apart from the fact that the country is vaccinating almost one crore doses every day. “Very soon we will reach the milestone of vaccinating every adult with two doses. The US is co-operating in a big way with 150 components required to manufacture vaccines,” he said.