India Likely To Start Free Trade Agreement With GCC As per reports, India has already implemented a free trade pact with the UAE in May this year

By Teena Jose

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India and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member countries are expected to start negotiations for a free trade agreement next month to boost the economic ties between the two regions, according to official reports.

"Terms of reference for the agreement are being finalized and we expect to launch the negotiations next month," said an official, in a statement.

GCC is a union of six countries in the Gulf region which includes Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain. As per reports, India has already implemented a free trade pact with the UAE in May this year.

Rakesh Mohan Joshi, Director, Indian Institute of Plantation Management, Bangalore, said that the GCC market is unexploited by domestic exporters and it holds huge potential.

"GCC is a major import dependent region. We can increase our exports of food items, clothing and several other goods. Duty concessions under a trade agreement will help in tapping that market. It will be a win-win situation for both sides," Joshi said, in a statement.

Commenting on the same, Federation of Indian Exports Organisation (FIEO) vice chairman, Khalid Khan said sectors like chemicals, textiles, gems and jewellery and leather will get a major impetus by this agreement.

According to the data of the commerce ministry, India's exports to the GCC increased by 58.26 per cent to about $44 billion in 2021-22 against $27.8 billion in 2020-21. The report also states that the share of GCC members in India's total imports rose to 18 per cent in 2021-22 from 15.5 per cent in 2020-21.

According to a November 2021 report of the World Bank, India got $87 billion in foreign remittances in 2021. Of this, it is said that a sizeable portion came from the GCC nations.

Teena Jose

News Desk Reporter with Entrepreneur India

Teena is a post graduate in financial journalism. She has an avid interest in content creation, digital media and fashion.

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