In what will be the first major trade deal implemented by the Modi government, India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will officially sign a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) on February 18. Negotiations on the deal have been completed in record time, having been officially launched in September 2021.
On Friday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is to host a bilateral summit at which the trade agreement between the two countries will be signed by commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal and the UAE’s minister of economy Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri, the commerce department said on Thursday.
The UAE is India’s third trading partner globally, after the United States and China. Bilateral trade between India and the UAE was worth $43.3 billion as of 2020-21, and is spread across thousands of traded items. In 2019-20, the pre-pandemic year, trade between the two countries was estimated at $59 billion. negotiations were almost complete and Modi was set to inaugurate the pact during his planned visit to the UAE and Kuwait in early January.
The upcoming deal will be an ‘early harvest’ component of a far more comprehensive trade and economic partnership deal in the future. An early harvest trade deal is one in which both parties sign off on a set of relatively easily achievable deliverables.