The Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CEPA) signed by India and the UAE is an important milestone in trade relations between the two countries, said V. Muraleedharan, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs & Parliamentary Affairs, Govt of India.
“Bilateral relations between the two countries will be warmer with the agreement ‘ he said while rendering the inaugural address that “along with the boom in trade, job opportunities would also be created” Union Minister inaugurated the workshop organized by FICCI in collaboration with the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (JDGFT) on the CEPA Agreement.
India will open up more market opportunities and thereby bring huge benefits to the country’s trade and commerce sector, Muraleedharan said. The CEPA is expected to support the growth of national industries, enhance its competitiveness, accelerate the pace of adopting advanced technology and create competitive advantages in new fields. UAE will exempt 90 per cent of Indian products from import duty. He said this would give a boost to the country’s export industry. Biateral trade between the two countries will reach $ 100 billion. As the UAE is the main gateway to the Middle East and Europe, the agreement will benefit the business community in both countries. Union Minister said that CEPA will greatly benefit the trade, commerce and employment opportunities in Kerala.
Sanjay Sudhir, Indian Ambassador to the UAE, said that Kerala would reap the maximum benefits of the CEPA agreement and that trade and industry in Kerala should strive to maximize its potential. He also suggested that more detailed analysis to be done on how to take advantage of the CEPA agreement
Dr. Suman Billa, Principal Secretary, State Department of Commerce and NORKA, Govt of Kerala said that Kerala would benefit if it launches world-class and competitive products. There is a need to have more coordination of all the Agencies involved in Foreign trade ie, Customs and Foreign Trade Directorate and Govt of Kerala to take maximum benefit out of CEPA. The State Government will take the initiative to set up an Export Felicitation Desk. Suman Billa also said steps would be also taken to address the issue of export container shortages.
Joint Director General of Foreign Trade, K.M. Harilal said in his introductory speech that the agreement would awaken the export sector in Kerala and open up many possibilities for the export of jewellery, spices, agricultural products, coconut oil and cashew nuts.
Kochi Customs Commissioner Mohammad Yusuf assured that the Customs Department would extend its full support to make the most of the benefits of the contract.
Aster DM Healthcare Chairman and Managing Director, Dr. Azad Mooppen demanded that more emphasis be given to the food processing sector. He said that a Directorate of Exports should be set up in the state to address the problems in the export sector and to address the inadequacy of the proper logistic system in the State. Eram Group Chairman and Managing Director, Dr. Siddeek Ahmed said the economic partnership agreement will help both countries to open new markets. Shyam Kapoor, President and CEO, Sharaf Group, said that through CEPA Indian and UAE brands can reach more markets and countries and brand exposure is the need of the hour.
The technical session was chaired by Bibin Menon, Additional Director General of Foreign Trade and Noida Sez Development Commissioner. He said the agreement would open several corridors for trade, investment, services and employment.
FICCI Kerala State Council Chairman. Deepak L Aswani, Co-Chairman Dr. M.I. Sahadulla in their introductory and opening remarks said that the CEPA will be a great benefit to India and particularity on sectors such as food processing, eduction, textiles, furniture and all the more employment opportunities for the abundant skilled manpower of Kerala. Alex K Nainan, Chairman, FICCI Kerala Task Force Expert Committee and Savio Mathew, Head, FICCI Kerala State Council also spoke.