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Business Session on CEPA and Related Business Opportunities held

The Federation of Telangana Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FTCCI) in association with UAE-India Business Council (UIBC), New Delhi organised a Business Session on Comprehensive Economic Agreement (CEPA) and Related Business Opportunities in the city at Hotel Park, Rajbhavan Road on Thursday night.

FTCCI is the most vibrant regional chamber in India. UAE – India Business Council (UIBC) is the only Official Joint Business Chamber set up by both the Governments--India and the UAE for promoting economic synergy between the UAE and India.

The session aimed to highlight the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) & Related Business Opportunities between the UAE and Telangana, India. It focused on sectors such as Plastics, Pharmaceuticals, Gems & Jewellery; many others informed Mr. Mukesdh Kalra, Head--Business, Development, UIBC.

H. E Aaref Alnuaimi, Consul General of UAE at Hyderabad and Dr E. Vishnu Vardhan Reddy, IFS, Special Secretary, Investment Promotion & NRI Affairs, Joint Managing Director (TSTPC) were Chief Guests.


Addressing the gathering Dr.Vishnu Vardhan Reddy spoke about how Telangana could best use CEPA. CEPA is a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) that is a free trade agreement between two countries. In this case, it is between UAE and India.

CEPA is more comprehensive than Free Trade Agreements. The CEPA provides preferential market access for over 80% of products traded between India and the UAE. The CEPA covers 11 broad service sectors and more than 100 sub-sectors, such as business services, communication services, financial services, tourism, and transport services

The Significance of the India-UAE CEPA is it is expected to increase bilateral trade in goods to USD 100 billion within five years of the signed agreement and increase trade in services to USD 15 billion, leading to wider social and economic opportunities in both nations.

Addressing the 200-plus trade gathering in this light of background Dr Vishun Vardhan Reddy said it looks like CEPA was more tailor-made to Telangana, not because the chief negotiator of this (Mr. Srikar K. Reddy), was from Telangana, but because of our export potential and strengths of several sectors such as pharmaceuticals, engineering goods, electronics, chemicals and minerals as well as agro products.

The Telangana state stands to benefit from the agreements, Dr Vishnu Vardhan said. The state wants its exports to grow. Telangana has got huge potential. The state stands first in several areas in India. One-third of human vaccines are produced here. Accounting for 40 per cent of the total bulk drug production in India, Telangana is known as the bulk drug Capital of India. Hyderabad District has the largest number of USFDA-approved manufacturing pharmaceutical companies for a single province in the world which is 214 units. The second largest is in New Jersey with 189 units. he said.

Gems and Jewellery is another promising sector for exports, which are likely to record double-digit growth. Food Processing is another promising sector with export potential. Today we are a number of rice-producing states in India. Last year we beat Punjab in rice production. Five Colours revolutions---green, white, yellow, pink and blue to propel Telangana to the next phase of growth, he informed




Speaking further he added that soon India's largest freshwater aqua park is coming up in Telangana. India's biggest Textile Park "Kakatiya Mega Textile Park is coming up in Warangal spread over 1350 Acres. It is the largest Textile Park in India. It boasts of fibre to fashion. Chief Minister Mr K Chandra Shekhar Rao is likely to inaugurate it in September. The park is fully occupied. We have identified Furniture and Toys as a new emerging sector to focus on. A focused Toys Park, an exclusive Furniture Park, and a dedicated Gems and Jewellery Park are also coming up in the state. The state is also working on revamping its export strategies. We will have comprehensive strategies. The work is in progress and shared with the senior foreign affairs bureaucrat. UAE is a priority country for Telangana state for exports, he said.

Giving his welcome address, the newly sworn-in President of FTCCI Mr. Meela Jayadev said it is the first anniversary of India-UAE CEPA implementation. This business session is timely and topical too. CEPA is the growth engine for India-UAE bilateral trade and makes a significant impact on India's bilateral trade with the UAE especially India's exports to the UAE. India is UAE's second-largest trading partner accounting for 9% of its total foreign trade and 14% of non-oil exports. Also, the UAE is India's third biggest trade partner. FTCCI works with larger industries, MSMEs and small businesses and we have seen big potential in our exporter members from Telangana contributing significantly to our country's exports.

Mr Sharad Agarwal, CEO-India, Emirates NBD Bank and Board Member of UIBC gave opening remarks. India and UAE's long friendship was further cemented with CEPA. CEPA is a game changer. It helps in the speed of processing of trade.

A panel discussion on Business Opportunities Post India-UAE CEPA was held. It was moderated by Kunal Wadhwa, Partner PwC. Giving his opening remarks explained how CEPA is different from FTA (Free Trade Agreement)

Mr Anurag Sehgal, MD of Price Waterhouse & Co. LLP said the pandemic made every country release to the fact to have a reliable trade partner. The international trade community is looking at India as the most reliable and secure trade partner.

Unnikrishnan, Joint Director General of FIEO-The Federation of Indian Export Organisations an apex body of Indian export promotion organisations set up jointly by the Ministry of Commerce, Government of India and private trade and industry. India signed 13 FTAs (Free Trade Agreements) so far for ensuring greater market access for domestic goods and promoting exports. The booming pharma and jewellery sectors have propped up Telangana's exports.

Another panellist R Uday Bhaskar, Director General Pharmexcil observed that the pact CEPA will boost bilateral merchandise trade and it is likely to expand the presence of Made-in-India medicines in Middle Eastern countries. India’s exports to the UAE hit US$31.3 billion in FY 2022-23 due to the CEPA trade deal. Indian companies are benefitting immensely from this he said.

Mr.Vidyasagar Hariharan, Vice President, Trade Product Manager, Global Transaction Banking, Mashreq India said CEPA is much more than FTA. It is a win-win pact for both countries. It benefits MSMEs. UAE is the gateway to Africa.

Mr. Ananthanarayana S. Partner, Price Waterhouse & Co LLP asked What is the difference in CEPA compared to other free trade agreements? CEPA is more comprehensive and ambitious than an FTA because it includes services, investment, IPR, government procurement, disputes, and regulatory aspects of the trade. An FTA, in contrast, focuses only on goods. The other salient features are the safeguard mechanism of domestic trade. Whenever imports surge and cause a threat to domestic industry, it safeguards. The mechanism is inbuilt in this among others he said.

Percy Avari, Country Manager, Aramex India spoke about the synergetic role of logistics in India-UAE CEPA's Triumph.

Ms Ebtesam Alkaabi, Head of Sales, Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA), Dubai making a presentation on it said that it is a community and ecosystem where industries such as logistics, e-commerce, petrochemicals and 14 other industries thrive.

Mr. AVPS Chakravarthi, Chair of, the International Trade & Business Relations Committee, FTCCI said the Al Minhad area, the 84 km stretch, in the United Arab Emirates, renaming as 'Hind City' by the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum shows India and UAE affinity.

Mr. Shubhransh Srivastav, Head of Corporate Affairs of DP World, an Emirati multinational logistics company based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, specialising in cargo logistics, and port terminal operations, responding to Dr E. Vishnu Vardhan Reddy's appeal to look at Telangana as an investment opportunity, said that the world view of the Telangana state was that of the most enabling state. We are keenly interested in Telangana. We have already heavily invested in India. You will see me and our company more often here. We ensure seamless and painless trade, he added.

Mr. Suresh Kumar Singhal, Senior Vice President and Ms Khyati Naravane, CEO of FTCCI and others graced participated in the business session

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