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India-UAE trade pact to boost exports from Kerala: FIEO Director-General 

V.Sajeev Kumar | Updated on: Jul 06, 2022
Ajay Sahai, Director General and CEO of Federation of Indian Export Organsiations

Ajay Sahai, Director General and CEO of Federation of Indian Export Organsiations

He emphasised the need to focus on making value-added products penetrate deep into the gulf markets

Kerala can derive more export opportunities from the recently signed FTA between India and UAE to gain market access for products manufactured in the State, Ajay Sahai, Director-General and CEO of the Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO), has said.

Earlier, the exports from the State were contributing more than 50 per cent of the revenue and, of late, it substantially reduced due to various reasons, including the pandemic-led disruptions. Quoting figures, he said in FY20, the total exports from the State were ₹71,865 crore, dropping to ₹34,158 crore in FY22.

FIEO, DGFT, Kochi and the State Government are working towards export promotion from the State, especially for better utilisation of FTAs. The FTA with UAE, he said, will help double exports from Kerala, especially in the segments of Jewellery, Agro and processed foods, non-leather footwear, value-added rubber and coir products, marine products, spices etc.

Value-added products

However, he emphasised the need to focus on making value-added products penetrate deep into the gulf markets. “We are moving towards technology-driven exports, and Kerala can catch up the demand particularly in electrical, electronics, IT and ITE’s sectors, tourism, particularly medical tourism, professional services etc , he told BusinessLine in an interaction.

Kerala to be a major beneficiary

Sahai, who was in Kochi for an official function, said that Kerala will be one of the largest beneficiaries of the FTA with UAE, and the emerging opportunities will provide exporters with a level playing field vis-à-vis their counterparts. Kerala has succeeded in creating its own tourism brand, which should be replicated in other products manufactured in the State to make a strong presence in gulf markets. He pointed out that the current export to UAE is $26 billion, and it would be doubled in the next three years. The bilateral trade will cross $100 billion in the next three years against the target to achieve the same in five years.

FTAs, according to him, will also make an added advantage for investment opportunities in the State. After the UAE, such treaties can be extended to other GCC countries, which would benefit the State as the trade relations with the Gulf and Kerala dates back to centuries. The FTA with UAE is also expected to generate additional employment opportunities, he added.

Referring to the trade data for June, Sahai said the surging exports have been achieved on the back of a challenging geo-political situation and rising global uncertainties. The exports registered $116.77 billion, the highest ever, with a growth of 22 per cent during the first quarter of FY22-23.

The benefits of the newly signed FTAs and the PLI Scheme will further help build as the export sector continues to advance during the fiscal year. He added several positive signals in favour of this, such as softening freight rates, commodity prices etc that would benefit the bottom line of the companies.

Published on July 06, 2022
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