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UAE and India to discuss first phase of trade corridor

Khalifa Port in Abu Dhabi. Imeec aims to integrate railway routes and link ports along a route spanning from India to Europe Wam
Khalifa Port in Abu Dhabi. The economic corridor aims to integrate railway routes and link ports along a route spanning from India to Europe
  • Meeting next month
  • Focus on goods clearance protocols
  • Untapped trade estimated at $112bn

Senior officials from the UAE and India will meet next month to start work on the first phase of the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (Imeec), according to a media report.

The officials are slated to meet on May 15 after UAE president Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Indian prime minister Narendra Modi signed an inter-governmental framework pact in February, Hindustan Times, an Indian media outlet, reported.

The shipping and rail transportation corridor linking countries across the Middle East, South Asia and Europe was announced in September 2023 at the G20 summit in New Dehli, India.

The corridor aims to integrate railway routes and link ports along a route spanning from India to Europe, through the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Israel.

It proposes two separate corridors: one in the east connecting India to the Gulf, and a northern corridor connecting the Arabian Gulf with Europe.

The meeting will have representatives from trade, shipping and commerce ministries from the two countries, the report said.

The discussions will focus on establishing protocols or virtual trade corridors to guarantee that containers cleared at Indian ports remain sealed until they reach their final destinations in Europe or America without being reopened at the UAE’s Fujairah port, the report said.

India’s commerce and industry minister, Piyush Goyal, said last September that Indian spices and spice products are likely to be the first commercial products to pass through Imeec.

Untapped trade opportunities between India and the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey could be worth more than $112 billion, research published in February has found.

An HSBC report, which analyses data from the UN/WTO International Trade Centre, estimates that there is a $61 billion export gap for Indian companies in the key markets of the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Qatar and Turkey.

Untapped exports in the opposite direction could be worth a further $51 billion. Much of this amount could come from trade with India’s Tier 2 cities – those with populations below 5 million. These include Chandigarh, Coimbatore, Kochi, Jaipur, Nagpur, Mysore and Trivandrum.

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