India and Saudi Arabia today agreed to work towards deeper economic engagement including through more investments, joint ventures and technology transfers.
During a meeting with commerce minister Anand Sharma, Dr Tawfiq bin Fawzan Al Rabiah, minister of commerce and industry of Saudi Arabia, agreed on the need to transform the buyer-seller relationship between the two countries, into one of deeper energy partnership with investments in petro-chemical complexes, modernisation of refineries, and joint ventures.
The two agreed on the need for free trade agreement between the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries and India to boost regional trade. The GCC countries - Oman, UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia - and India have identified petroleum and oil, gas and fertilisers and IT among other, for a priority thrust.
Sharma highlighted the need to diversify India's export to Saudi Arabia, saying the list of potential export from India ranged from pharmaceuticals, automobiles and textiles to sugar and wheat.
The Saudi minister highlighted the need for logistics and transportation under the services sector on their part.
To a Saudi complaint of anti-dumping duties on its industri9al exports to India, as being detrimental to the trade relations between the two countries, Sharma explained that the anti-dumping duties in India are imposed after due diligence and is a quasi judicial exercise.
Sharma also told his Saudi counterpart that India had withdrawn anti-dumping duties from polypropelene and pentaerythritol.
Sharma and Dr. Al Rabiah also discussed about the priority sectors which ought to be put under focus for the forthcoming India Show in Riyadh. Shri Sharma also invited Saudi investors to actively participate in the construction projects for highways, ports, airports, metros, supply chains & warehousing and power plants which are being regularly launched in India.
The bilateral trade between India and Saudi Arabia has risen from $42.048 billion in 2012 to $48.172 billion in 2013.