For India and United Arab Emirates (UAE), this week marked a watershed moment. Our two nations have reaffirmed a reality we have already known for many years by kicking off the current year under the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA). Through stronger collaboration, we would continue to enjoy the enormous wealth and potential that awaits us as partners.
CEPA is both an economic cooperation and a monument to the fraternal bonds that have existed between our nations since our diplomatic relationship began in 1972. In reality, our bilateral relationship precedes our official participation by centuries, with a long history of trade.
Our forefathers laid the groundwork for the robust partnership we see today by trading commodities and crossing the seas in search of contacts and cultural exchanges. India is the UAE's most important trade partner in terms of exports, accounting for $26.8 billion or 10.8 per cent of overall exports in 2019. In the same year, India received 51 dollars billion in foreign direct investment from the UAE, making it the ninth highest beneficiary. In addition, in January 2017, India and UAE inked a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership Agreement, which lays out a bold plan for economic and political collaboration.
Now, through enhancing and growing bilateral relations with important partners, the UAE is taking aggressive efforts to develop its economy and that of the area.
In the next decade, we want to increase the size of our economy and recruit top talent. Foreign trade would be a key component of this growth.
The UAE's attempts to expand its economy over the following 50 years and consolidate its status as a worldwide economic hub are centred on the CEPA model. It also demonstrates our desire to form partnerships that benefit both the UAE and our trading partners.
What specific advantages would the UAE-India CEPA provide? First, it would result in stronger investment flows, cheaper tariffs, and vastly expanded prospects for important sectors in both UAE and India, such as air transportation, investment, the environment, digital commerce, and others.
Secondly, CEPA would make it simpler for small and medium-sized businesses to expand globally by providing them with new consumers, networks, and cooperation opportunities. This would assist the private sector, which is still at the vanguard of economic and innovation progress.
Thirdly, and probably most astonishingly, India and UAE hope to grow bilateral non-oil commerce to over 100 dollars billion in five years thanks to this CEPA.
Our two nations negotiated several major economic deals in current years to enhance investment and trade, such as an Agreement on the Promotion and Protection, Agreement on Avoidance of Double Taxation, and an Air Services Contract, before signing the India-UAE CEPA.
These deals were made regarding the formation of a Higher Level Taskforce Group on Investment and a Joint Committee between India and UAE.
Economic cooperation, as symbolised by CEPA, is an important aspect of our great partnership. Thousands of Indians working in the UAE have formed a lively society that has formed an integral part of our national textile. In reality, the Indian diaspora is the UAE's biggest expatriate group; 225 weekly nonstop flights join the UAE and India, ensuring that our people can continue trading, studying, and travel.