India-UAE trade pact to boost apparel exports, employment, say exporters

The comprehensive free trade agreement between India and the UAE would help boost the country’s exports and create lakhs of jobs, according to exporters.

Welcoming the signing of the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) between India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Friday, Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC) Chairman Narendra Goenka said that it will further strengthen India’s dominant position in the UAE.

“With India supplying $ 1,515 million worth of apparel to the UAE as against its total imports of USD 3,517 million, Indian apparel exports contribute a decent share of 43 per cent. The trade pact would result in a drop of 5 per cent import duty for Indian readymade garments. This will further strengthen the dominant position of Indian apparels in the UAE,” Goenka said.

He added that Indian apparel exports to the UAE also cater to the needs of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman and the UK.

Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) President A Sakthivel said that the pact will be beneficial to Indian exports particularly for the labour-intensive sectors like agriculture and processed food including meat and marine products, gems and jewellery, apparel and textiles, leather and footwears.

“Having a large Indian diaspora, the UAE consumes a large quantity of Indian cereals, fruits and vegetables, tea, spices, sugar, etc. Indian companies will gain in services like travel & tourism, transportation, IT and ITES and construction services,” he said.

Sharing similar views, Vikramjit Sahney, Chair of India-Arab Council, said that the pact is set to reduce tariffs for 80 per cent of goods and gives zero duty access to 90 per cent of India’s exports to UAE.

Council for Leather Exports Chairman Sanjay Leekha said that the UAE is one of the key markets for the sector and it would also give access to certain EU countries and Africa. “The pact would help in boosting exports and creating jobs,” Leekha said. The pact aims to take the two-way commerce to the USD 100 billion mark in over five years and create about 10 lakh jobs in sectors such as apparel, plastic, leather and pharma.

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