Industry body Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) has estimated that Indo-Arab trade in goods and services is likely to grow to $150 billion by 2012 and could reach to $500 billion in the next 10 years.
A paper brought out by ASSOCHAM, named 'Indo-Gulf: emerging avenues for exports and investments', reveals that India's total trade with the Arab region during 2007-08 was $87 billion, and this rose to $100 billion in 2008-09.
The paper, released in Chandigarh ahead of a trade meeting with representatives of Gulf countries, points out that the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) could become India's first global partner instead of the United States provided the government and the business community pay attention to the trade and exports, particularly in knowledge-based industries.
Over a dozen ambassadors from Gulf countries, including the UAE, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Oman, will assemble in Chandigarh to explore export potential from Punjab and Haryana to Gulf nations in the areas of hosiery, automobiles, components, cycles, and textiles.
Gulf ambassadors on their part will lobby for direct exports from the Middle East to Punjab in the areas of petroleum, petrochemicals and heavy engineering, the release said.
The Arab countries account for 20 per cent of India's total trade and are the source of two-thirds of the country's energy requirements.