Banna said the past will have a positive effect on trade and flow of investment besides creating job opportunities…reports Asian Lite News
India and the United Arab Emirates have agreed on all the elements of the proposed Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) and it could be signed very soon, the ambassador of the Gulf nation Ahmed AlBanna said on Thursday.
In an address at a think-tank, he also said that the agreement, once formalised and signed, would pave the way for significant expansion of ties in areas of trade and investment and technology.
The ambassador said both sides are waiting for a final signal from their leadership to sign the pact.
AlBanna said the UAE will continue to stand as a committed partner for India’s energy needs and that the partnership between the two countries has strengthened in the last couple of years.
He also said that the newly formed grouping comprising the UAE, India, Isreal and the US is an offspring of the Abraham Accords and of the trilateral UAE-India-Israel cooperation.
AlBanna said the actual negotiations for the CEPA began in October last year and that the negotiators from the UAE and India agreed on all the elements of the proposed pact agreement by end of December.
“Signing a CEPA, signing a major trade agreement usually takes countries months and months, if not years and years. Any CEPA agreement could not be concluded in less than a year or two years,” he said.
“We concluded a CEPA agreement with India in less than four months. That shows the immense interest from both sides in trying to reach a final agreement which will benefit the economies of the UAE and India in many different sectors,” the envoy said.
AlBanna said the past will have a positive effect on trade and flow of investment besides creating job opportunities.
“What we are planning is very soon it will be signed and it will be implemented…we are just waiting for the final (signal from the) leadership from both sides to conclude and sign the agreement,” he said.
On air services between the two sides, AlBanna said major difficulties were faced during the coronavirus pandemic and even suggested that there were issues even before that.
He said the UAE was favouring extra capacities adding if capacities of all carriers reach 85 per cent, then there was a need to renegotiate it to increase.
The envoy indicated that the UAE is yet to receive a positive response from India on the matter.
He said the air bubble agreement has opened up capacities to the level of what Indian carriers carry one-way from India to the UAE. He said it makes no sense to the UAE carriers with the demand being high and the number of seats limited.
There has been an upward trajectory in the ties between India and the UAE following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to that country in 2015.
Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of UAE Armed Forces, visited India in 2016. He again visited India in January 2017 as the Chief Guest at the Republic day celebrations.
It was during this visit that the bilateral relations were upgraded to a ‘Comprehensive Strategic Partnership’.
Prime Minister Modi visited UAE again in February 2018 for the 6th World Government Summit in Dubai, where India was the guest of honour
He visited the UAE again in August 2019 to receive the UAE’s highest civilian award, ‘the Order of Zayed’.
The UAE is also home to over 3.3 million Indians who have been playing a key role in overall cultural and people-to-people ties between the two sides.