Speaking at an Interactive Session with Indian unicorns, VCs and Startups, organised by CII for the visiting ministerial delegation from the United Arab Emirates on 11 May 2022 in New Delhi, His Excellency Abdullah Bin Touq Al Marri, Hon’ble Minister of Economy of the UAE, stated that the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement highlighted important aspects that are inbuilt within the framework of the Agreement. These included the openness of the UAE economy that has been maintained in the Agreement; the formation of a committee to discuss issues regarding its implementation; inclusion of digital economy which is continuously evolving and is therefore important; focus on SMEs within the CEPA. He also added that the government procurement and intellectual property rights also hold special significance for the India-UAE CEPA. All these aspects impart agility to this historic agreement between the nations.
The Minister also mentioned that the openness of the UAE economy was evident by the fact that the government issues different categories of visa to attract more talent into the economy. While the golden visa allows exceptionally talented people to stay on in the UAE even if they don’t have an employer, the freelance visa allows those who are on their family member’s visa to work as a freelancer.
His Excellency Dr Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi, Honourable Minister of State for Entrepreneurship & SMEs, UAE, remarked that there is a general sense of excitement on both sides to take the India-UAE relationship to the next level and both sides needed to make the flow of investments as easy as possible, for both traditional and non-traditional capital. Regarding SMEs, the Minister remarked that, apart from the focus on traditional SMEs, the start-ups were also an important thrust area.
The Minister invited the Indian businesses to visit the UAE and to expand their businesses there. He further said that many SMEs in the UAE are driven by Indian Americans in the UAE who have access to the best universities and thrive in an enabling environment. The UAE is embracing openness and looking at markets around the world. India stands out because of the strong cultural and people-to-people ties.
His Excellency Mr Sunjay Sudhir, Ambassador of India to UAE, spoke about the deep business engagement which started with the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership Agreement signed in January 2017,and gradually evolved into CEPA. He stated that two prime areas of synergy are the start-up and the digital sector. In the last six months, the Dubai Expo provided the much-needed platform for the third-largest Indian Start-up Ecosystem by creating space where start-ups could participate. It saw pitching sessions for around 600 Indian start-ups for seeking attention of prospective investors.
His Excellency Dr Ahmed AR Albanna, Ambassador of UAE to India, stated that since the visit of The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan to India in February 2016, the whole relationship took on a new track and has seen many developments ever since. It opened a gateway for signing of various agreements and memorandums of understanding with the recent CEPA being the crowning agreement of them all. He believed that with India boasting the second largest start-up ecosystem, with a total value of more than US$ 330 billion; this is a platform where both nations can try and seek opportunities to maximize their collaboration.
“With the signing of the India UAE Comprehensive Partnership Agreement (CEPA) which is one of the fastest agreements negotiated between any two countries, both India and UAE are standing at a significant inflection point in history” stated Mr Rajan Navani, Chairman, CII ‘s India @75 Council. Mr Navani further added that this agreement has come at an opportune moment, as India celebrates the 75th year of Independence and as UAE celebrates the 50th anniversary of its foundation. This golden era of India lies ahead, riding on the wave of our start-ups and talented youth. “We are at a momentous point in both countries, and it is going to become s very significant when we look back at this moment a decade later”.
11 May 2022