India, UAE plan to lift bilateral trade to $100 billion in 5 years via new pact

Piyush Goyal, India's Minister of Railways and Minister of Commerce and Industry, attends a session at the 50th World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, January 21, 2020. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

NEW DELHI, Sept 22 (Reuters) - India and United Arab Emirates plan to conclude a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) by the end of the year with the aim to lift trade between the two countries by 70% in five years, trade ministers of both countries said.

India's Trade Minister Piyush Goyal said on Wednesday both countries would also aim to sign an "early harvest" trade deal soon, before concluding the CEPA, which is likely to be implemented by March 2022.

"A new strategic economic agreement is expected to increase bilateral trade in goods to $100 billion within five years of the signed agreement," the ministers said in a joint statement released on Wednesday.

India is looking to boost exports through trade relationships and new pacts with a number of countries to revive its economy. With nearly $60 billion of bilateral trade, UAE is already India's third-largest trading partner.

UAE is also India's second-largest export destination after the United States, with exports valued at about $30 billion.

The pact is aimed at boosting jobs and investments in both the countries, the UAE's Minister of State for Foreign Trade Thani Al Zeyoudi said on a visit to New Delhi.

Earlier this month, in an interview with Reuters, Al Zeyoudi said the UAE will pursue an aggressive timetable to negotiate economic agreements with eight countries it wants to deepen trade ties.

India's major exports to the UAE include petroleum products, precious metals, stones, gems and jewellery, minerals, food items such as cereals, sugar, fruits and vegetables, tea, meat, and seafood, textiles, engineering and machinery products, and chemicals.

India's top imports from the UAE include petroleum and petroleum products, precious metals, stones, gems and jewellery, minerals, chemicals and wood and wood products.

Reporting by Aftab Ahmed; Editing by Alex Richardson

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