Mumbai: India has proposed a free trade agreement
with member countries of the Gulf Co-operation Council,
finance minister P Chidambaram said.
are in the process of negotiating an FTA with Gulf Cooperation
Council (GCC)... The first round of meeting between
India and GCC had taken place in March 2006," he
told a meeting of representatives of Gulf countries.
said India has already signed a bilateral investment
protection agreements with six Gulf countries - Oman,
Qatar, Kuwait, Yemen, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia - and
four more are in the pipeline. "We hope to take
it further," he said, adding that the Arab countries
should take advantage of India''s cost competitiveness
by sourcing more manufactured items.
countries have gained immensely by high oil prices and
these countries can explore investment prospects in
India which is becoming a major global manufacturing
believe India has competitive advantage in many areas
especially in manufacturing and services," he said.
country is fast becoming a hub for manufacturing particularly,
steel petroleum refinery, automobiles and auto parts,
textiles, leather and leather products and pharmaceuticals,
said these trade and investments could also help foster
closer economic ties between India and the Arab world.
He also assured the investors of hassle-free clearances
for their projects. "The red-tape is out and red
carpet is in," he said.