India and the United Arab Emirates on Wednesday announced the launch of the negotiations for a mutually beneficial Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with the aim to end talks by the end of this year and sign a formal agreement in March next year.
The first round of negotiations for an early harvest under the CEPA will be held on September 23-24.
The pact is expected to increase bilateral trade in goods to $100 billion within five years of the signed agreement and that in services to $15 billion but that projection is now being reassessed.
“The two sides have drawn up a very ambitious and aggressive timeframe and aim to conclude negotiations by December 2021 itself and we hope to sign a formal agreement in the early part of 2022 after the completion of internal legal procedures…We are negotiating an aggressive bilateral agreement,” commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal said.
The UAE is currently India’s third-largest trading partner with bilateral trade in FY20 at $59 billion. It is also India’s second-largest export destination after the US, with exports valued at $29 billion in FY20. India was the UAE’s second-largest trading partner in 2019, with bilateral non-oil trade valued at $41 billion.
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