Bhubaneswar : The UAE-India CEPA Council (UICC), in collaboration with the Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC), convened a business roundtable involving close to 30 Odisha-based businesses to discuss opportunities to leverage the benefits of the UAE-India Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA).

The UAE delegation was led by H.E. Abdulnasser Alshaali Ph.D., the Ambassador of the UAE to India, with participants including Mr. Ahmed Aljneibi, Director of the UICC, Mr. Mohammad Haseeb, Strategic Country Manager – India, Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone (RAKEZ), and Mr. Yogpal Singh, Director, Corporate Affairs, DP World.

Underscoring the importance of Odisha to the UAE, H.E. Dr.Alshaali noted, “Odisha has played a critical role in supporting the UAE-India bilateral partnership. Its highly developed minerals and industrial sector and strong human capital are of key interest to UAE investors. We are confident that today’s event will serve to ensure businesses in Odisha take advantage of a range of economic, trade, and investment opportunities that have been offered through the signing of the CEPA.”
In his remarks, Mr. Aljneibi highlighted the rapid growth in Odisha’s total trade with the UAE. “In the 2023-2024 fiscal year, trade between the UAE and Odisha reached USD 2.63 billion, with Odisha constituting the UAE’s eighth-largest trading partner among India’s 28 states and eight union territories. It is essential that we undertake all efforts to continue to build upon this constructive trading relationship and seek out new avenues for mutually beneficial growth. The UICC, in partnership with the ICC, is committed to supporting businesses in Odisha to achieve their international trade and investment ambitions.”
Odisha is India’s largest producer of steel, stainless steel, ferroalloys, alumina, and aluminium. The state holds a significant share of India’s reserves of nickel, bauxite, iron-ore, and coal. Over recent years, constructive steps have been undertaken to develop deeper investment and trade collaboration between the UAE and India.

In June 2022, several memoranda of understanding, valued at USD 2.76 billion, were signed between the Government of Odisha and UAE companies. Most notably, the Lulu Group committed to exploring opportunities to establish hypermarkets, shopping malls, and agriculture and seafood processing hubs in the state.

Underlining the key role of the CEPA in strengthening economic ties between the UAE and India, trade between the two countries stood at 83.64 billion for the 2023-2024 fiscal year. The importance of the CEPA is exemplified by the substantial trade growth in specific sectors such as gems and jewellery, drugs and pharmaceuticals, and fruits and vegetables, which saw rises of 64 percent, 39 percent, and 35 percent, respectively, over the 2023-24 fiscal year. The UAE is India’s second-largest export destination, third-largest trading partner, and fourth-largest investor.

The UICC, established in early 2024, has played a pivotal role in harnessing the opportunities created by the signing of the CEPA. The impacts of the CEPA have been profound, catalysing billions of dollars in investments and fostering a heightened level of business confidence that spans multiple industries. The CEPA has not only facilitated easier market access and reduced barriers to trade but has also encouraged a dynamic exchange of goods and investments, leading to a diversified economic partnership between the UAE and India.

The UICC is dedicated to fostering open dialogue, facilitating tangible cooperation, and accelerating trade ties between UAE and Indian businesses to cultivate mutual growth and prosperity.