Strengthening UAE-Odisha Trade Ties: A New Chapter in Economic Collaboration

In a significant move to bolster economic ties, the UAE-India CEPA Council (UICC) and the Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC) hosted a pivotal business roundtable with nearly 30 businesses from Odisha. This initiative aims to harness the benefits of the UAE-India Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) and explore new avenues for mutual growth.

Key Delegates and Strategic Discussions

The UAE delegation was spearheaded by Abdulnasser Alshaali, the UAE’s Ambassador to India, alongside key figures like Ahmed Aljneibi, Director of the UICC, Mohammad Haseeb from Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone (RAKEZ), and Yogpal Singh from DP World. These leaders engaged with Odisha’s business community, emphasizing the state’s critical role in the UAE-India bilateral partnership.

Dr. Alshaali highlighted Odisha’s strategic importance, noting, “Odisha’s advanced minerals and industrial sectors, coupled with its strong human capital, make it a key area of interest for UAE investors. Today’s event aims to unlock a multitude of economic, trade, and investment opportunities for Odisha businesses under the CEPA framework.”

Trade Growth and Economic Potential

Ahmed Aljneibi shed light on the burgeoning trade relations, pointing out that Odisha’s trade with the UAE reached USD 2.63 billion in the 2023-2024 fiscal year. Odisha now ranks as the UAE’s eighth-largest trading partner among India’s states and territories. Aljneibi underscored the importance of sustaining and expanding this positive trajectory, with the UICC and ICC committed to supporting Odisha businesses in their global trade and investment efforts.

Odisha’s Industrial and Resource Strengths

Odisha stands as India’s leading producer of steel, stainless steel, ferroalloys, alumina, and aluminium. The state boasts significant reserves of nickel, bauxite, iron ore, and coal. Over recent years, strategic initiatives have fostered deeper investment and trade collaboration between the UAE and Odisha.

In June 2022, the Government of Odisha and UAE companies signed memoranda of understanding valued at USD 2.76 billion. Notably, the Lulu Group expressed interest in establishing hypermarkets, shopping malls, and processing hubs for agriculture and seafood in the state.

Impact of CEPA on UAE-India Trade Relations

The CEPA has significantly bolstered economic ties between the UAE and India, with bilateral trade amounting to USD 83.64 billion in the 2023-2024 fiscal year. The agreement has spurred substantial growth in sectors such as gems and jewellery (64% increase), pharmaceuticals (39%), and fruits and vegetables (35%). The UAE ranks as India’s second-largest export destination, third-largest trading partner, and fourth-largest investor.

Since its establishment in early 2024, the UICC has played a crucial role in leveraging the opportunities created by CEPA. The agreement has facilitated easier market access, reduced trade barriers, and promoted the exchange of goods and investments, leading to a diversified and robust economic partnership.

A Promising Path Forward

The UICC remains committed to fostering open dialogue and tangible cooperation between UAE and Indian businesses. This collaboration is set to accelerate trade ties, ensuring mutual growth and prosperity. As the UAE and Odisha continue to strengthen their economic linkages, the CEPA stands as a cornerstone for future development, catalyzing billions in investments and nurturing a vibrant business environment across multiple sectors.

(With inputs from agencies)

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