India, UAE central banks discussing bilateral trade in rupee and dirham to cut transaction costs

The central banks of India and the United Arab Emirates are discussing a concept paper on boosting bilateral trade in rupee and dirham with an aim to bring down transaction costs, a top official said on Friday.

India’s Ambassador to the UAE Sanjay Sudhir said the concept paper for trading in local currencies was shared by India.

He told reporters here that the central banks of the two countries would discuss standard operating procedures and modalities.

He said the exercise is aimed at reducing transaction costs.

The exercise will help in enhancing the utilization of the free trade agreement that was implemented by both the countries on May 1.

“We are in the process of discussing rupee-dirham trade as we are very large trading partner. UAE is our third largest trading partner and our second largest destination for exports. In that growing sense, if we are able to do business in our two currencies, it is very desirable as the cost of transaction will come down very effectively,” Sudhir told reporters here.

The ambassador said the issue was first discussed in September.

Subsequently in July, the Reserve Bank asked banks to make additional arrangements for export and import transactions in Indian rupees in view of the growing interest of the global business community in the domestic currency.

According to commerce ministry data, India’s exports to the UAE grew by 17.6 per cent to nearly USD 18 billion during April-October this fiscal.

However, exports declined by 18 per cent to around $2 billion in October.

After the trade agreement, bilateral trade is expected to reach USD 100 billion in the next five years from the current USD 60 billion.

The ambassador also said that the UAE has shown great interest in UPI, a technology-based solution for payments. “At the moment we are in the process of discussion,” he said.

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