Over 120 entrepreneurs show interest to start businesses under CEPA

Under the recently signed Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) between India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), more than 120 Ludhiana businessmen have expressed interest in starting a business in the Gulf nation.

Ludhiana industrialists and Hamriyah Free Zone officials hosted an interactive roadshow – Unlocking Business Opportunities in UAE through Hamriyah Free Zone – organized under the auspices of the industry’s umbrella organization, The Associated Chamber of Commerce and Industries of India (Assocham).

Some of the companies facilitating this interaction came from Knitwear and Textile Club; the Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Companies (CICU); the Ludhiana Management Association; the World Sikh Chamber of Commerce (WSCC) and the Indian Chamber of International Business.

CEPA is a major trade agreement designed to transform bilateral economic, trade and investment ties and drive economic growth between India and the United Arab Emirates. Under the CEPA, both countries expect to boost bilateral trade from USD 60 billion to USD 100 billion within the next five years.

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Commercial Director of Sharjah’s Hamriyah Free Zone Authority Charles Daniel said: “Hamriyah Free Zone is a commercial hub from which not only the UAE but the whole world is accessible for business and Sharjah today is a thriving commercial center with unique offers logistical advantages through excellent land, sea and air links, and Ludhiana’s business community can benefit by doing business from Hamriyah Free Zone,” adding that nearly 40 percent of its investors are in Hamriyah Free Zone come from India.

The statement by the Assocham and Ludhiana companies said the Hamriyah Free Zone offers no taxes, 100 percent ownership, preferential tariff rates and 100 percent import and export tax exemption.

Geomon George, Head of Business Development, Hamriyah Free Zone, emphasized that establishing a business entity in the Hamriyah Free Zone can be extremely attractive for Indian companies. Industries based in Ludhiana can use the UAE, particularly Hamriyah Free Zone, as a re-export base to Africa and Europe.

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By paying as little as Rs 4 lakh, any company can open an independent office in the Hamriyah Free Zone, which includes one year’s rent, electricity, water, all permits and the visa for six people.

Vijay Garg, Chairman of Punjab State Development Council, Assocham, and Chief Executive, Vivachem, said Hamriyah Free Zone is a corporate tax and personal income tax free zone.

“More than 6,000 industries are already working in this zone. Through this session, Punjab entrepreneurs will get an opportunity to understand the benefits of free trade zones in UAE and to connect and do business with the whole world,” he said.

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Charanjiv Singh, general secretary of the Knitwear and Textile Club, said the UAE market has good demand for textile products. Indian textile and garment industry will benefit from India-UAE CEPA. It is with great pleasure that Assocham organized an interactive session with the Hamriyah Free Zone in Ludhiana.

Iqbal Cheema, Co-Chairman of Punjab State Development Council, Assocham said: “This is the right time to start your business abroad and it is very difficult to find the kind of facilities that are offered in Hamriyah Free Zone, to be found elsewhere.”

Hamriyah Free Zone is a free trade zone in the city of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates. Established by an Emiri decree in November 1995, the free trade zone is 24 square kilometers in size, with a 14m-deep harbor and a 7m-deep inner harbor.

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