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India-Gulf Cooperation Council to resume FTA negotiations

Piyush Goyal, Minister of Commerce and Industry, Government of India, and Dr. Nayef Falah M. Al-Hajraf, Secretary General, Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), held a Joint Press Conference, in New Delhi today, to announce the intent to pursue negotiations on the India-GCC FTA. 

SNS | New Delhi |

India and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) on Friday decided to expedite the legal and technical requirements for a formal resumption of the free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations.

Piyush Goyal, Minister of Commerce and Industry, Government of India, and Dr. Nayef Falah M. Al-Hajraf, Secretary General, Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), held a Joint Press Conference, in New Delhi today, to announce the intent to pursue negotiations on the India-GCC FTA.

With forward-looking and solution-oriented deliberations, bilateral engagements witnessed significant progress on all matters of mutual interest across the entire gamut of bilateral economic relations between India and the GCC nations, Ministry of Commerce and Industry said in a statement.

FTA is envisaged to be a modern, comprehensive Agreement with substantial coverage of goods and services, it added.

Both sides emphasized that the FTA will create new jobs, raise living standards, and provide wider social and economic opportunities in India and all the GCC countries.

They agreed to significantly expand and diversify the trade basket in line with the enormous potential that exists on account of the complementary business and economic ecosystems of India and the GCC.

GCC is currently India’s largest trading partner bloc with bilateral trade in 2021-22 valued at over $154 billion with exports valued at approximately $44 billion and imports of around $110 billion (non-oil exports of $33.8 billion and non-oil imports of $37.2 billion).

Bilateral trade in services between India and the GCC was valued at around $14 billion in 2021-22, with exports valued at $5.5 billion and imports at $8.3 billion.

GCC countries contribute almost 35 per cent of India’s oil imports and 70 per cent of its gas imports.

India’s overall crude oil imports from the GCC in 2021-22 were about $48 billion, while LNG and LPG imports in 2021-22 were about $21 billion. Investments from the GCC in India are currently valued at over $18 billion.