Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal on Thursday said that India and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have agreed to take forward a free trade agreement (FTA) between the two regions and resume negotiations.
The GCC is a federation of six countries in the Gulf region – Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain. The Council is the largest business block in India.
According to commerce ministry data, India’s exports to GCC member countries are set to grow by 58.26% to nearly $44 billion in 2021-22 as against $27.8 billion in 2020-21.
Bilateral trade in goods to increase from $87.4 billion in 2020-21 to $154.73 billion in 2021-22. Services trade between the two regions is expected to be valued at around $14 billion in 2021-22, with total exports at $5.5 billion and imports at $8.3 billion.
Goyal told reporters here at a joint press conference with GCC Secretary-General Nayef Falah M Al-Hajraf, “We look forward to taking forward the Free Trade Agreement between the GCC and India and resuming negotiations and completing it at the earliest.” agreed upon.”
GCC countries contribute about 35% of India’s oil imports and 70% of its gas imports. India’s total crude oil imports from the GCC in 2021-22 are estimated to be around $48 billion, while LNG and LPG imports in 2021-22 are expected to be around $21 billion.
Earlier in 2006 and 2008 there was a trade agreement between the two sides, which was stalled due to some reasons.
When asked about the next round of talks to resume talks, Shri Goyal said that the teams from both the sides will decide on this.