India, UAE review progress towards Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement
India and the UAE on Saturday reviewed progress towards a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement between the two countries and held discussions on exploring mutually beneficial methods to facilitate further investment from UAE sovereign investment entities in key priority sectors in India.
The ninth meeting of the UAE-India High-Level Joint Task Force on Investments on Saturday also discussed ongoing efforts to amend the longstanding Bilateral Investment Treaty and noted the importance of concluding the negotiation process as soon as possible.
The meeting was co-chaired by Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal and Sheikh Hamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Member of the Executive Council of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.
Senior officials representing government authorities and various investment entities from both countries took part in the meeting, according to a statement by Commerce and Industry Ministry.
"The progress of ongoing discussions for the India-UAE Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement, which will be a significant and wide-reaching step in promoting trade and investment between the two countries, was reviewed during the meeting. In this regard, both sides appreciated the efforts made to expedite discussions towards a well-balanced agreement that will considerably deepen bilateral economic ties and benefit the economies of both countries," the statement said.
The two sides noted the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on global trade and investment and reiterated the importance of strengthening the deep economic ties between the two countries.
"Both sides recognised the collaboration between India and UAE during this difficult period and appreciated the leadership provided by the two countries in their regions to confront the pandemic," the statement said.
The meeting reviewed the positive outcomes achieved through the work of the Joint Task Force to date, and the two sides agreed to continue exploring ways to facilitate investment in areas of mutual interest with the potential for economic growth.
"At the meeting, discussions were also held on exploring mutually beneficial methods and incentives to facilitate further investment from UAE sovereign investment entities in key priority sectors in India. The positive steps made by the Indian government in this context were noted and both sides agreed to continue to focus on ways of providing tax incentives to certain UAE sovereign investment entities," the statement said.
"During the meeting, participants also considered ongoing efforts to amend UAE and India's longstanding Bilateral Investment Treaty and noted the importance of concluding the negotiation process as soon as possible," it added.
Commenting on the meeting, Piyush Goyal said that India looks forward to increased investment from the UAE in diverse sectors.
"India and UAE have longstanding ties which have become stronger in the recent times and our continued engagement even during the pandemic reflects the priority this partnership holds for both our nations," he said.
"Our leadership accords a special place to our relationship with the UAE and our bilateral forums like the Joint Task Force provide effective mechanisms to build on our long-standing friendship. Given the strong growth prospects of the Indian economy, we look forward to increased investment from the UAE in diverse sectors of India," he added.
In his remarks, Sheikh Hamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan said that India and the UAE share a broad and deep strategic partnership, and this has helped bilateral economic ties continue to strengthen despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The Joint Task Force offers an important platform for dialogue between our two countries, raising new opportunities for trade and investment, and removing bottlenecks to further cooperation. Looking ahead, India and the UAE share ambitious goals to expand trade and investment activities between our countries, and the Joint Task Force will continue to play an important role in achieving these objectives," he said.
The importance of active involvement from the UAE Special Desk within Invest India, the National Investment Promotion Agency of India, in expediting the resolution of both legacy issues and current difficulties experienced by UAE companies and banks in India was discussed in the meeting.
The Indian side also highlighted some long-standing issues faced by Indian investors in the UAE. Both sides agreed to continue coordination and cooperation at the highest official levels for the early resolution of these issues.
The two sides agreed to work on a priority basis to work for speedy normalisation of air transport operations between the two countries.
"Given the importance of air transport in facilitating bilateral ties and people-to-people connections, both sides agreed that their respective civil aviation authorities should continue to work together on a priority basis, for their mutual benefit, to ensure the speedy normalisation of air transport operations between the two countries," the statement said.
The Joint Task Force was established in 2013 as a key forum for promoting economic ties between the UAE and India, which were further strengthened by the signing of the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership Agreement between the two countries in January 2017 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.