Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) between India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Unveiled

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Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) between India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Unveiled

  • Unveiling of Indo- UAE CEPA is Historic day in India UAE ties.
  • CEPA to Benefit both the countries in a big way.


  • The India-UAE comprehensive strategic partnership initiated during the visit of Prime Minister of India to UAE on 16-17 August 2015.
  • India-UAE CEPA was signed on 18 February 2022 in New Delhi during the India-UAE Virtual Summit.

Current trade statistics

  • UAE is India's third largest trading partner.
  • India-UAE bilateral trade has steadily increased from US$ 180 million per annum in the 1970s to US$ 60 billion (₹4.55 lakh crore) in FY 2019-20.
  • Exports to the UAE valued at US$ 29 billion for the year 2019-20, the UAE is also the second largest export destination of India.
  • Indian imports from the UAE were valued around US$ 30 billion, including 21.83 MMT (US$ 10.9 billion) of crude oil.
  • UAE is an important source of India’s energy supply and a key partner of India in the development of strategic petroleum reserves, upstream, and downstream petroleum sectors.
  • UAE is also the eight largest investor in India with an estimated investment of US$ 18 billion.
  • India and the UAE have recently signed a MoU in which UAE has committed US$ 75 billion towards infrastructure development in India.


  • The negotiations for India-UAE CEPA were concluded in a record span of 88 days.
  • The Agreement is expected to enter into force on 01 May 2022.

Salient features of India-UAE CEPA

  • The India-UAE CEPA is the first deep and full free trade Agreement to be signed by India with any country in the past decade.
  • The Agreement is a comprehensive agreement, which will cover:
  1. Trade in Goods,
  2. Rules of Origin,
  3. Trade in Services,
  4. Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT),
  5. Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) measures,
  6. Dispute Settlement,
  7. Movement of Natural Persons,
  8. Telecom,
  9. Customs Procedures,
  10. Pharmaceutical products,
  11. Government Procurement,
  12. IPR,
  13. Investment,
  14. Digital Trade and Cooperation in other Areas.

Impact or benefits

  • CEPA provides for an institutional mechanism to encourage and improve trade between the two countries.
  • The CEPA between India and the UAE covers almost all the tariff lines dealt in by India (11,908 tariff lines) and the UAE (7581 tariff lines) respectively.
  • India will benefit from preferential market access provided by the UAE on over 97 % of its tariff lines which account for 99% of Indian exports to the UAE in value terms,
  • This is especially for all labor-intensive sectors such as -
  1. Gems and Jewelry,
  2. Textiles, leather, footwear, sports goods, plastics, furniture,
  3. Agricultural and wood products,
  4. Engineering products,
  5. Medical devices,
  6. Automobiles.
  • India will also be offering preferential access to the UAE on over 90% of its tariff lines, including lines of export interest to the UAE.
  • Both sides have also agreed to a separate Annex on Pharmaceuticals to facilitate access of Indian pharmaceuticals products, especially automatic registration and marketing authorisation in 90 days for products meeting specified criteria.

India’s offer

  • India has offered market access to the UAE in around 100 sub-sectors,
  • Indian service providers will have access to around 111 sub-sectors from the 11 broad service sectors such as:
  1. Business services
  2. Communication services
  3. Construction and related engineering services
  4. Distribution services
  5. Educational services
  6. Environmental services
  7. Financial services
  8. Health related and social services
  9. Tourism and travel related services
  10. Recreational cultural and sporting services
  11. Transport services


  • The India-UAE CEPA will further cement the already deep, close and strategic relations between the two countries and will create new employment opportunities, raise living standards, and improve the general welfare of the peoples of the two countries.