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Mon 8 Feb 2016 11:57 AM

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UAE, India target $100bn of trade as Abu Dhabi crown prince prepares for state visit

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan is visiting New Delhi and Mumbai between February 8-10

UAE, India target $100bn of trade as Abu Dhabi crown prince prepares for state visit
Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, crown prince of Abu Dhabi pictured with Indian PM Narendra Modi during his visit to the UAE last August.

The UAE and India are targeting bilateral trade volumes of at least $100 billion per annum in the coming years, an Indian official has said ahead of a high level UAE delegation visit to India this week.

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, crown prince of Abu Dhabi, arrives on his maiden visit to New Delhi and Mumbai on Wednesday.

It follows the visit by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the UAE in August, and is designed to strengthen cooperation in trade sectors including energy, aviation, technology, infrastructure and small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs).

On Sunday state news agency WAM reported that India is the number one trade partner of the UAE with a relative share of 9.8 percent of total UAE non-oil trade. India ranked first in the UAE’s overall exports with a relative share of 14.9 percent.

UAE-India bilateral trade currently stands at $60 billion following an all-time high of $74.45 billion in 2012/13. It dropped to $59.54 billion in 2013/14 and stood at $59.61 billion in 2014/15.

“India is certainly keen to attract and promote foreign investment to
encourage economic growth, and to this end has recently introduced substantial
changes to its foreign direct investment [FDI] policy," Baker & McKenzie Habib Al Mulla partner Jayshree Gupta told Arabian Business. "The government has eased
FDI norms in 15 major sectors, and plans to constantly review their FDI policy
to achieve their economic objectives.

“India and the UAE have such deep and old bonds and trade ties. It's
been fantastic to see the Indian Prime Minister recently visit the UAE after 34
years and now the visit of the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammad bin Zayed
to India signals that there will be more investment into India by the UAE.
India’s economic growth is projected to be 7.5 percent this year. Intended investments
in infrastructure and ports gives the UAE opportunities for foreign direct
investment and this visit shows the UAE's commitment to and faith in India as
its trading partner in the times ahead.”

WAM quoted UAE foreign affairs minister Dr. Anwar bin Mohammed Gargash as saying: “This visit is part of the UAE’s efforts to build relationships across Asia and strengthen its role as a gateway into the Middle East.

“India is the UAE’s largest trading partner while the UAE is India’s third-largest trading partner. In the 1970s, trade was valued at $180 million annually; today, it is valued at $59 billion.

“The UAE sees this visit as an opportunity to enhance its economic relationship even further, with a number of agreements due to be announced in sectors important to both countries.”

They also agreed to coordinate efforts to fight terrorism.