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UAE’s minister of economy writes: UAE-India CEPA promoted a favourable environment for startups to thrive in both countries

In terms of art and culture too, the Louvre Abu Dhabi paid homage to Bollywood by unveiling its first exhibition of the year, ‘Bollywood Superstars: A Short Story of Indian Cinema’. These initiatives together give a glimpse of UAE-India relations’ fullest potential

Shaped by millennia-old journeys of cultural and economic engagement on the Indian Ocean’s network of exchange, the India-UAE relationship is today more than an economic partnership. It speaks to the Emirates’s deep, fraternal, and strategically important relationship with India, and reinforces the UAE’s position as an economic hub for India to undertake sustainable and diversified growth through our strategic location at the intersection of global trade.

The India-UAE partnership was forged first on the trade of traditional items, and then strengthened with oil. It found a formal dimension after the creation of the UAE Federation in 1971, and then accelerated in the 1990s, when a liberalised India embraced the opportunity to export to the UAE and markets beyond. The emergence of the UAE as India’s third-largest trading partner has only underlined the positive outlook the two countries share towards economic cooperation.

The Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) builds on our decades of mutual enterprise. It commences a momentous new chapter in our shared history, unlocking greater trade volumes and improved mutual access to markets and stimulating a wide range of economic, industrial and investment opportunities. A year since it came into force on May 1, 2022, the UAE-India CEPA has been an incredible success, not only for the volume of non–oil trade, which almost hit the $50 billion mark in 2022, with growth of about 10 per cent, but also the multiplier effects that it is building into our respective economies. Covering the widest possible range of subjects (from digital economy to free trade, among other mutual priorities), it has served as a powerful platform for unprecedented partnerships and multi-sectoral collaboration.

The UAE-India CEPA is unleashing the spirit of entrepreneurship that exists in both countries, inspiring innovators and investors, and catalysing SMEs, startups, and India Inc alike to make decisive inroads into new markets. The agreement is benefiting from the partnership’s experience in unlocking growth, mobilising capital and talent, and policy engineering to create a new paradigm of deeply complementary and synergistic trade.

The UAE-India CEPA is also a strategic catalyst in addressing vital developmental challenges. Giving a trade lens to tackle issues as diverse as energy and food security, agriculture, and sustainability, it adds greater import to the presence of India and the UAE in regional blocs and multi-laterals such as the I2U2 and UFI.

The UAE-India CEPA owes its success not only to the legacy of the India-UAE relationship, but also to our shared values. The UAE looks forward to the opening of the IIT-Delhi campus in Abu Dhabi next year; positive outcomes are expected from the MoU in academic cooperation signed between Anwar Gargash Diplomatic Academy (AGDA) and O P Jindal Global University. In September last year, the UAE and India signed an MoU to establish the Emirati India Cultural Council.

More recently, the Louvre Abu Dhabi paid homage to Bollywood by unveiling its first exhibition of the year — ‘Bollywood Superstars: A Short Story of Indian Cinema’. For the Emirati audience, the exhibition not only showcases the depth and richness of Indian art and civilisation through its films, but also illuminates our shared roots, common values, and cultural connections. This deepening of India-UAE exchange of arts, culture and education indicates that our mutual reservoir of trust and shared values is an ever-present source of enrichment.

The UAE-India CEPA and our strong people-to-people multicultural fabric have created a highly favourable business environment. It is an opportune moment, in particular, for India’s dynamic startup ecosystem, its unicorns and innovators, to explore growth and diversification into the Emirati market, and from there to the Middle East, Africa, and Europe. Giving them access to a powerful enabling ecosystem of investors and fellow entrepreneurs, the India-UAE Startup Bridge will also enable them to attract investment from venture capitalists and angel investors. The corridor will further CEPA’s vision for startups and embolden them to scale and strengthen their position in the global market.

Seen together, these initiatives give a glimpse of the deal’s fullest role — as the heart of strategic alignments and common interests, leading our nations to build competitive, resilient, sustainable, and vibrant economies.

The writer is UAE’s minister of economy

Courtesy: The Indian Express



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