India and the six countries of the Gulf Co-operation
Council are likely to conclude a free trade agreement
in the near future, commerce minister Kamal Nath said.
total trade with the six Gulf countries -- Oman, Qatar,
the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Bahrain
-- has risen from $5.5 billion in 2000-01 to $23.42
billion in 2005-06.
a meeting between Kamal Nath and the visiting UAE economy
minister Shaikha Lubna Al-Qasimi the two underlined
the strong partnership that India and UAE enjoy in the
field of trade and commerce, although the partnership
was still way below potential.
expressed the hope that the Gulf Cooperation Council
(GCC)-India Industrial Conference beginning in Mumbai
"would promote a greater thrust to India''s economic
cooperation with the Gulf region as a whole."
the first meeting of India-UAE trade policy forum that
followed the meeting, the two ministers discussed a
range of issues on increasing level of trade between
the two countries.
referred to issues related to opening of branches of
Indian banks in UAE, lifting of a ban on the import
of poultry products and removal of trade barriers such
as registration guidelines, restrictive work permits
and visa regime regarding import of pharmaceuticals,
chemicals and allied products. Anti-dumping measures
on UAE products and companies and matters relating to
successful establishment and implementation of the joint
Alumina project in Orissa were also taken up by the
2005-06, trade between India and the UAE was at $12.9
billion. Indian exports to the UAE were valued at $8.59
billion and exports from the UAE to India were estimated
at $4.31 billion during the period.
UAE is India''s top trading partner in the Middle East/North
Africa region. The UAE accounts for 75 per cent of India''s
exports to the six GCC countries.
will head the Indian delegation for the meeting between
India and the GCC scheduled to begin in Mumbai. The
Arab delegates are expected to focus on investment opportunities
in India. The conference is titled: ''Gulf-India: Investment
Opportunities''. Plenary sessions will focus on cooperation
between India and the Gulf region in the field of energy,
petrochemicals and infrastructure projects.
desire to boost ties with Middle Eastern and Maghreb
countries has also been marked by the recent visit of
India''s external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee to
Libya, which concluded on May 28.