FTA, more flights to drive trade: Envoy tells Indian-UAE business team in Israel
Indian ambassador to Israel said greater trade between Israel and the UAE will also benefit Indian companies, as many Indian firms have set up base in the Emirates or established manufacturing units there
NEW DELHI: The work being done by India and Israel to conclude a free trade agreement and enhance air connectivity is expected to drive trade and business, India’s ambassador to Israel Sanjeev Singla said.
At the same time, India, Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) can use their mutual strengths to enhance the competitiveness of their economies, Singla said during an interaction with a joint business delegation from India and the UAE.
“The discussions on the free trade agreement between India and Israel will catalyse the ground for greater bilateral trade,” Singla said.
“Separately, we are also working towards enhancing direct air connectivity from Israel to various cities in India which should be a welcome development for the business communities.”
India is currently Israel’s second-largest trading partner in Asia.
Greater trade between Israel and the UAE will also benefit Indian companies, as many Indian firms have set up base in the Emirates or established manufacturing units there either as joint ventures or within special economic zones (SEZs), Singla said.
These units are in areas such as cement, building materials, textiles, engineering products, and consumer electronics.
Highlighting the areas of cooperation, Singla said: “We have been trying to encourage joint investments in six mutually identified areas – water, energy, transportation, space, health and food security.”
He added, “Israel’s strengths in niche technology, India’s sheer size and depth of the economy, its human resource pool and manufacturing scale, and the UAE’s capabilities in logistics and investments are complementary not only for our economies but also the region at large.”
Mohamed Al Khaja, the UAE’s ambassador to Israel, who also participated in the interaction emphasised the growing relations between the Emirates and Israel and said, “Since the signing of the CEPA (Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement) with Israel, there’s been a major interest among companies in both countries to make use of the opportunities that present themselves while taking people-to-people ties to another level.”
The joint business delegation included 45 Indian members and 10 members from the UAE. Rajan Navani, the leader of the Indian delegation and managing director of Jetline Industries, highlighted the positive outcomes of growing ties between India and Israel.
“Israel has taken a strategic decision to strengthen economic relations with India. This has facilitated the expansion of Indian software giants in the Israeli market,” he said. Bilateral trade has diversified into sectors such as pharmaceuticals, agriculture, IT and telecom and homeland security, he said.
India and the UAE signed a CEPA in February, giving a fillip to already strong cooperation in trade and energy. India, Israel and the UAE have been working on enhancing their trade investment ties, including through the I2U2 grouping, which brings them together with the US.