SEPTEMBER 10, 2023
The UAE, Saudi Arabia, India, EU, US and other G20 partners agreed to explore a shipping corridor project to augment trade between Europe and Indian subcontinent
The leaders of the world’s biggest economies announced a landmark deal that creates a multinational rail and ports link through the Middle East and South Asia. The India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor agreement was announced on Saturday at the first day of the G20 summit in New Delhi.
The US, Saudi Arabia, EU, UAE and other G20 partners agreed to explore a shipping corridor project to augment trade between Europe and India. It aims to link Middle East countries by railway and connect them to India by port, helping the flow of energy and trade from South Asia through the Gulf to Europe.
G20 backdrop for historic deal
A memorandum of understanding for the deal was set to be signed by the European Union, India, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the US and other countries on the sidelines of the summit.
US President Joe Biden said it was a “real big deal” that would bridge ports across two continents and lead to a “more stable, more prosperous and integrated Middle East.”
He said at an event announcing the pact that it would unlock “endless opportunities” for clean energy, clean electricity, and laying cables to connect communities.
The US President thanked UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed for his key role in securing the milestone rail and ports deal linking the Middle East and South Asia.
“I do want to say thank you, thank you, thank you,” Biden said at an event to unveil the initiative. “I don’t think we’d be here without you.”
The establishment of the corridor aims to significantly enhance connectivity and integration between participating countries and will be comprised of two different pathways – the east corridor connecting India to the Arabian Gulf and the northern corridor connecting the Arabian Gulf to Europe.
The cross-border ship-to-rail transit corridors will reduce shipping costs across the network and facilitate trade in goods and services to, from, and between the UAE, Saudi Arabia, India, and Europe.
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, “Today, as we embark upon such a big connectivity initiative, we are sowing the seeds for future generations to dream bigger.”
The deal will benefit low and middle-income countries in the region, and enable a critical role for the Middle East in global commerce, Jon Finer, the US deputy national security adviser, told reporters at the bloc’s annual summit in New Delhi.
“Linking these key regions, we think, is a huge opportunity,” said Finer.
No immediate details of the value of the deal were available.
UAE, India talks
The UAE President Sheikh Mohamed and Prime Minister Narendra Modi met on the sidelines of the summit to discuss strengthening economic partnerships between the two countries.
The leaders discussed boosting their Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) and other “promising opportunities”, as per state news agency WAM.
Sheikh Mohamed and Modi touched on topics including reinforcing bilateral co-operation, especially in the economic, investment, development, renewable energy and food security sectors as both countries seek sustainable growth.
They also addressed the importance in accelerating mutually beneficial action in the areas of sustainability, environmental conservation and climate change mitigation, aside from regional and international developments of mutual interest.
Saudi Arabia, US sign MoU
Saudi Arabia and the US additionally announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding for developing a protocol for establishing intercontinental green transit corridors through the kingdom to connect the continent of Asia with the continent of Europe, on the sidelines of the summit.
The project aims to facilitate the transit of renewable electricity and clean hydrogen via transmission cables and pipelines, as well as constructing rail links.
It is also intended to enhance energy security, support efforts for the development of clean energy, promote the digital economy through digital connectivity and transmission of data via fiber cables, and promote trade and transportation of goods by rail and through ports.