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Trade & investment opportunities at India-GCC Industrial Forum

30
May '07
India is in the process of negotiating a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the Gulf countries and the talks in this regard are likely to be concluded very soon. This was indicated by Shri Kamal Nath, Minister of Commerce and Industry, in his keynote address at the Inaugural Session of the 3rd meeting of the India-GCC Industrial Forum, in Mumbai.

Stating that India is privileged to host this year's Forum, the Minister expressed the hope that the deliberations would further enhance the expanding economic relations between India and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.

“In the last five years, India's total trade with the GCC countries has risen more than four-fold – from US$ 5.55 billion in 2000-01 to US$ 23.42 billion in 2005-06. The period witnessed buoyancy in both exports and imports. Signing of the Framework Agreement on Economic Cooperation between India and GCC countries in 2004, was another milestone in the Indo-GCC economic relations”, he added.

Dr Al Yamani, Minister of Commerce and Industry, Saudi Arabia and Mr Maqbool bin Ali bin Sultan, Minister of Commerce and Industry, Oman, were present on the occasion along with members of the GCC delegations, including the GCC Chambers and leading representatives of Indian Industry headed by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).

Underlining the importance of the Gulf countries to India, Shri Kamal Nath observed that the Gulf region was on par in terms of demand creation when compare to even the US. “It is already a target market for more than three-quarters of India's main export products”, he said.

The Minister outlined a whole of range of opportunities in India for investors from the Gulf, specially the huge opportunities in infrastructure. “There are obvious synergies between India and the Gulf. The GCC countries continue to be a major supplier of oil to India, meeting almost two-thirds of our oil requirements."


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