India - GCC to restart Free Trade Agreement talks

The launch date of negotiations is still unknown

November 25, 2022 7:58 IST | India Infoline News Service

On Thursday, India and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members declared their decision to reopen the FTA negotiations between them.

According to Piyush Goyal, minister of commerce and industry, the trade agreement will encompass a wide range of commodities and services, including technology, food security, climate change, and energy security, among other things.

GCC is a six-nation intergovernmental political and economic union that includes Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). A framework agreement on economic cooperation between India and the GCC was signed more than 17 years ago to explore the possibility of an FTA. Following that, two rounds of negotiations took place in 2006 and 2008.

But following the two rounds, the economic union postponed negotiations with all nations and economic entities. Separately, in February of this year, India and the UAE agreed to a trade agreement.

With bilateral trade valued at over $154 billion in 2021–2022 (FY22), with $44 billion in exports, the GCC is currently India's largest trading partner bloc. Crude oil accounts for $110 billion in imports, which dominates the market. Of this, $37.2 billion was spent on non-oil imports.

In FY22, India and the GCC's bilateral commerce in services was valued at over $14 billion, with $5.5 billion in exports and $8.3 billion in imports.

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