CEPA Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement, NAFL President Nadia Abdul Aziz suggests a strategic logistics corridor between India and UAE; Indian logistics market estimated to grow to US$ 380bn in 2025
On 18 February 2022, India and the United Arab Emirates, inked a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) that is being characterized as a major trading landmark.
The milestone pact is aimed at providing a major boost to the trade of goods and services between the nations.
The mega deal was signed during a virtual summit meeting between Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India and HH Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.
Ushering in prosperity
CEPA paves the way for a new era of joint economic growth and prosperity in the two countries, improves mutual access to markets, enhances economic and investment opportunities and paves the way for broader prospects, Ahmed Mahboob Musabih, Director General, Dubai Customs and CEO, Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation.
Speaking at the recently concluded 3rd Edition of LOGIX India, in Dubai, supported by the UAE’s National Association of Freight and Logistics (NAFL), Musabih noted that the agreement aims to raise the value of non-oil trade from US$ 40bn annually to US$ 100bn within five years, which creates tremendous opportunities for the business community and companies in both countries.
Key logistics players in India and UAE utilised the three-day event, held at Hotel Le Meridien Dubai, to work out ways and means to improve the prospects of the freight and logistics market.
“From strategic cooperation, it has also established tremendous opportunities in vital sectors such as trade, investment, hospitality, aviation and renewable energy and petrochemicals, noting that the UAE, thanks to its advanced and pioneering services, establishing its position as a major logistics gateway for the flow of international trade and investment around the world,” Musabih continued.
Nadia Abdul Aziz, President, UAE’s National Association of Freight and Logistics (NAFL) suggested a strategic logistics corridor apart from a trade corridor for which more investments should be made into sea freight between the two countries, so that logistics cost will be reduced.
Nadia said more synergy should be created between the Indian and the UAE freight forwarders, who will be the main strategic people who facilitate more trade between the two countries.
“If a logistics corridor is created, the cost can be reduced, so also the food inflation if smart logistics is applied,” she affirmed.
Omar Alkhan Abdulla, Director of International Offices, Dubai Chamber, asserted that the target of US$ 100bn can be achieved much before the five-year target if the trade is diversified and India rediscovers itself.
“Dubai Chambers has plan to open two or three more offices in India, apart from its one in Mumbai. With all these steps, we hope the target can be achieved much before five years. The LOGIX conference has helped in moving people closer,” he observed.
“Dubai Chamber, in collaboration with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), plans to increase the roadshows to help India rediscover it in different regions. We are also trying to attract more Indian companies and Indian multinationals and increase the trade and trade diversification,” he further added.
“The event is an ideal opportunity for the cargo and logistics organisations to meet and set targets as spelt out in the CEPA. The Indian logistics market is estimated to grow to US$ 380bn in 2025 and the freight and logistics market in UAE will generate over US$ 31.41bn in 2026,” stated Humaid Bin Salem, Chairman, International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), UAE.
Dr Ajay Sahai, Director General & CEO of Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) suggested the setting up of a permanent India Mart in the UAE, on the same lines of the long-established China Mart in Dubai. “We want Indian products to be showcased in Dubai, so that we look beyond the UAE for marketing them in the entire GCC and Africa, as there are lots of buyers from Africa. They come to Dubai for placing orders, but not travelling to India. If Indian products are displayed here, they can place orders and we can back the mart with warehousing and distribution centre,” he stressed.