Business & Economy
India, UAE agree to bolster bilateral trade, continue strategic dialogue
Mumbai, March 3, 2014
India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) today agreed on several steps to strengthen bilateral trade and pave the way for continued strategic dialogue between them.
At the second meeting of the India-UAE High Level Joint Task Force on Investments (HLTFI) held in Mumbai, the two sides also held wide-ranging discusions on priority sectors of engagement for chanelling investments in the two countries.
The meeting was co-chaired by Indian Commerce & Industry Minister Anand Sharma and Shekh Hamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Court.
The HLTFI was established in April 2012 as a platform to address mutual issues associated with existing investments between the two countries and to promote and facilitate cross-border investments.
More than 30 government and private sector representatives from India and the UAE were present at the meeting, an official press release said.
The two sides discussed ways of supporting the establishment of a strategic petroleum reserve in India in a manner serving the common strategic interests of both countries and based on the principles of long term strategic partnership and cooperation. They decided to establish another joint working group to make progress on this effort.
They also discussed ways of expediting the resolution of current pending issues associated with existing UAE investments in India (Etisalat, Emaar & DP World), and a plan of action was agreed for the Legacy Issues sub-working group to address and resolve these issues.
The meeting acknowledged TAQA, the Abu Dhabi-based international energy and water company, as the largest private operator of hydroelectric plants in India, following its acquisition, signed on Saturday 1st March, 2014 in New Delhi, of two hydroelectric plants in India.
The equity invested by the TAQA-led consortium in the acquisition of the two hydroelectric plants will amount to approximately Rs 3,820 crores (US$ 616 million), of which 51% is from TAQA. The consortium will also acquire the assets` non-recourse project debt, taking the value of the deal to $ 1.6 billion.
The agreement followed the signing of the UAE-India Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement in December 2013 and the UAE`s commitment at the last HLTFI meeting to invest US$ 2 billion in India`s infrastructure sector.
The UAE side invited the Indian companies in the renewable energy area to the UAE to meet with Masdar to discuss potential investments.
The meeting noted that the UAE and India are significant trading partners and bilateral trade between the two countries is expected to continue its important growth in years to come. Alongside trade, the HLTFI would seek to achieve a similar growth path for investment with a clear roadmap between the two countries, an official press release issued after the meeting said.
Mr Sharma underlined India’s status as a major destination for foreign investments and the opportunities that exist for the UAE, especially in infrastructure areas such as roads and highways, power and utilities, civil aviation, ports, renewable energy and urban infrastructure, and participation through the Infrastructure Debt Funds.
He also highlighted India’s desire to participate in the hydrocarbon sector in the UAE, especially in the upstream petroleum sector. He also mentioned that he saw greater opportunities for UAE investors as strategic partners in India’s growth story.
"Today we have advanced the work of the Joint Task Force, and laid the foundation for further mutually beneficial investments and areas of common interest," Sheikh Hamed said.
"We look forward to the ratification of the Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement, and the resolution of the outstanding issues identified at our first meeting. Together, our combined efforts will help to further strengthen bilateral trade relations and pave the way for continued strategic dialogue," he said.
The first meeting of the HLTFI, held in Abu Dhabi in February 2013, resulted in a wide-ranging discussion on matters of mutual interest including the identification of priority sectors of engagement for possible investments in the two countries. Since then, work conducted by the HLTFI to strengthen and develop bilateral relations in the field of investments culminated in the signing, in December, 2013, of a Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPPA), serving as a platform for promotion and reciprocal legal protection of investments in both countries.
As a result of decisions taken during the inaugural meeting of the HLTFI, several joint working groups have been created to address issues of mutual interest in the following sectors: Infrastructure, Investment & Trade, Energy, Manufacturing & Technology, Aviation, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and Legacy Issues.
At today`s meeting, an action plan was agreed to expedite progress across all these joint working groups, the release added.