SHARJAH, 31st May, 2023 (WAM) — The Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) has taken the next step in its trade mission in the Republic of India, staging the UAE-India Business Forum in New Delhi.
The forum discussed the deep-rooted economic ties between the UAE, the Emirate of Sharjah, and India, while highlighting promising business prospects in many sectors and services in Sharjah and India.
The high-profile event was attended by Abdullah Sultan Al Owais, Chairman of SCCI, and a host of dignitaries, including Waleed Abdul Rahman Bukhatir, Second Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors, SCCI; Ahmed Mohamed Obaid Al Naboodah, Board Member, SCCI, and Majid Al Nukhaouli, Charge d’Affaires at the UAE Embassy in India.
Other distinguished guests included Sachin Kumar, Deputy Director of the Trade Promotion Council of India; Abdulaziz Mohammed Shattaf, Assistant Director-General of the Communication and Business Sector at the Chamber; Jamal Saeed Buzangal, Director of the Media Department; Ali Al Jari, Director of the Sharjah Exports Development Centre (SEDC), and Lalo Samuel, Chairman of the Indian Business and Professional Council in Sharjah. Several senior manufacturers and traders from Sharjah and New Delhi also attended the event.
During the event, Al Owais spoke highly of the UAE-India Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), saying, “The first year of the CEPA has witnessed a remarkable progression. Our non-oil bilateral trade in 2022 amounted to an impressive AED180 billion, marking a 10 percent increase from the previous year. Moreover, India’s exports to the UAE rose by 26 percent, and re-exported goods showed a 10 percent increase, firmly consolidating our two nations’ positions as central players in international trade.”
He added, “With 17,500 Indian companies operating in Sharjah, our economic interconnection is palpable. In 2022, Sharjah’s exports to India reached a value of AED2.8 billion, with re-exports amounting to about AED700 million and imports valued at approximately AED2.5 billion.”
Al Owais highlighted the importance of recent developments in strengthening ties. “This year, we also saw the launch of the New Indian Professional Business Council in Sharjah. This initiative was born out of our vision to build business councils for brotherly and friendly nations, embodying and expressing the aspirations of business communities. This will undoubtedly strengthen cooperation, increase trade, and promote investment exchanges.”
Al Owais concluded with an ambitious outlook for the future, “These developments underscore the strength of our economic ties and constitute a major step towards our 2030 target: to double trade between our two nations by 120 percent and reach a monumental US$100 billion within the next five years.”
Majid Al Nukhaouli lauded the initiative taken by the Sharjah Chamber, organising the trade mission. He said, “The SCCI trade mission to India will play a critical role in promoting the economic bond between the UAE and India. We are teeming with promising investment opportunities that demand our collective efforts to unearth and attract businesses to invest and transform them into sustainable projects fostering prosperity in our two friendly nations.”
Meanwhile, Sachin Kumar emphasised the significance of the forum and the mission’s visit. He said, “The UAE-India business forum, together with the trade mission, provides a perfect platform to broaden the horizons of trade and investment cooperation and inspire collective work. It allows us to closely observe the investment arenas in both countries based on our strong bilateral relations, which are proliferating. There are more than 3.8 million Indians in the UAE, many of whom are manufacturers and traders, they have achieved remarkable success in various vital sectors such as textiles, building materials, technology, retail, education, health, and more. Sharjah, with its excellent infrastructure, services, and incentives for foreign investors, has significantly contributed to these achievements.”
Additionally, Lalo Samuel spoke about the investment environment in the UAE. He said that the UAE, with its ten major ports, 12 commercial ports, and nine airports, offers an ideal infrastructure. “As the seventh highest country in GDP globally and Sharjah boasting 19 industrial zones, five free zones, and more than 3,000 manufacturing units, we provide an optimal destination for family life. Sharjah’s strategic location facilitates rapid communication with two-thirds of the world’s population.”
Samuel urged the Emirati and Indian business communities to bolster partnerships, make joint investments, and pioneer new initiatives in emerging priority sectors.
The Sharjah delegation has also held a comprehensive meeting with the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry in the presence of Adib Ahmed, Chairman of the Middle East Council of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, along with other FICCI members.
The meeting discussed the importance of bolstering India’s connectivity with Sharjah’s diversified economy. It explored avenues for Indian companies to enhance their presence in the Middle East and North Africa region via Sharjah through investing in key sectors such as agriculture, food security, technology, innovation, logistics, tourism, cultural affairs, water resource management, renewable energy, and education.