MUMBAI : Federation of Freight Forwarders’ Associationsin India (FFFAI) Women’s Wing under the leadership of Chairman Mr Shankar Shinde held their second event to coincide with the introduction and rolling out of CEPA(Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement) on 1st May – free trade agreement the Government of India has signed with United Arab Emirates – an interactive session with Mrs Parul Singh – Deputy Secretary, Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
During his welcome address extending warm welcome to all, Mr Shinde spoke about how this FTA with UAE was going to be very important, strengthen the ties between India and UAE even more, the business that would be generated because of this FTA and thanked all for joining on women’s wing on FFFAI Platform.
The session with Mrs Parul Singh was very engaging, interactive and well attended with over 65 participants. Mrs Singh presentation on CEPA, explanation about how CEPA came about, the highlights of the FTA were most informative. The Free Trade Agreement rolled out on 1st May and the first gems and jewellery consignment from Delhi to Dubai was shipped under the FTA.
The Free Trade Agreement is complimentary to The GOI’s Aatmanirbhar Bharat and not contradictory to each other. Miss Chaitaly Mehta the moderator of the event recounted her first meeting with Mrs Singh in Dubai for an event and how Mrs Singh impressed her.
As the name suggests, CEPA is more comprehensive and ambitious than an FTA in terms of partnership across a wider coverage of areas and the type of commitments. While a traditionalFTA focuses mainly on goods; a CEPA is more ambitious in terms of a holistic coverage of many areas like services, investment, IPR, government procurement, disputes etc.
Also, for the first time in any Trade Agreement, a separate Annex on Pharmaceuticals has been incorporated to facilitate access of Indian pharmaceuticals products. Pls see points 11 & 12 below.
A few of the important things to be noted about the CEPA Free Trade Agreement are:
The first FTA to be signed by the GOI in last 10 years
UAE was a natural choice because UAE is the 9th largest investor in India. India was the 1st largest export destination for UAE in 2019 and for India UAE is the 3rd largest trading partner with Bilateral trade of USD 59 Billion in FY2019-20 and 2nd largest export destination for the same year with exports of USD 29 Billion
Negotiations were completed in a record 88 days during Covid. It was the fastest negotiated comprehensive bilateral FTA. Covered 12000 products/ 881 pages with 8-digit codes.
Most ambitious FTA negotiated by both sides covering all aspects of the economy
Wide range of Consultations held with all stakeholders, including trade and industry associations, line Ministries and Export Promotion Councils/Boards.
Creation of new employment opportunities across sectors particularly Gems and Jewellery, Textiles/Apparels, Leather, Plastics, Agro-Processing and Engineering sectors