The first meeting of India-UAE Trade Policy Forum was held
here today, preceded by a one-to-one meeting between Shri Kamal Nath, Union
Minister of Commerce & Industry and Shaikha Lubna Al Qasimi, Minister of Economy
of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Both the Ministers underlined the strong
partnership that India and UAE enjoy in the field of trade and commerce, while
noting that the partnership was still way below the potential. Both the
Ministers expressed the hope that the Ministerial level Gulf Cooperation Council
(GCC)-India Industrial Conference beginning in Mumbai tomorrow would promote a
greater thrust to India’s economic cooperation with the Gulf region as a whole.
The two Ministers discussed a range of issues with a view
to increasing the level of trade between the two countries. Shri Kamal Nath took
up with the UAE Minister issues relating to opening of branches of Indian banks
in UAE, including the State Bank of India (SBI), lifting of the ban on import of
poultry products and removal of trade barriers such as registration guidelines,
restrictive work permits, visa regime etc. relating to import of pharmaceutical
and chemicals and allied products. The UAE in turn referred to anti-dumping
measures on UAE products and companies and matters relating to the successful
establishment and implementation of Orissa Alumina Joint Project.
Trade between India and UAE stood at US $ 12.9 billion in
2005-06. Of this, India’s exports to the UAE were
valued at US $ 8.59 billion and imports from the UAE at US $ 4.31 billion.
UAE is India’s top trading partner in the entire WANA
region, as the UAE alone represents 75% of India’s
export to GCC countries. Indian exports to the UAE account for 6% of India’s
global exports. Dubai is a major trade centre of re-exports and a gateway for
the whole of Arab world. Revival of oil prices since late 1999 has strengthened
the trading position of GCC countries in general and UAE in particular.