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India-UAE CEPA will serve as template for probable India-GCC Free Trade Agreement: Says FIEO

India-UAE CEPA will serve as template for probable India-GCC Free Trade Agreement: Says FIEO

India-UAE CEPA will serve as template for probable India-GCC Free Trade Agreement: Says FIEO
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By Abhimanyu Sharma  Oct 31, 2022 9:45:10 PM IST (Published)

Stating that the India-UAE CEPA (Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement) will serve as a template for FTA talks between India and the GCC members due to the commonality between oil-driven economies, Sahai opined that petroleum and petrochemical trade will be the likely priority in the probable FTA for the GCC members while goods and services will be the likely priority for India.

Director General of the Federation of Indian Exporters Organisation (FIEO), Ajay Sahai told CNBC TV18 that the presence of a customs union amongst the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member countries as well as India's existing trade ties will aid talks of a probable Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between India and GCC.

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Stating that the India-UAE CEPA (Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement) will serve as a template for FTA talks between India and the GCC members due to the commonality between oil-driven economies, he opined that petroleum and petrochemical trade will be the likely priority in the probable FTA for the GCC members while goods and services will be the likely priority for India.
Pointing out that GCC member countries are collectively a huge market for Indian products, he added that India's complementary economy with the UAE and Oman's expertise in logistics will further aid talks.
The GCC comprises of Saudi Arabia, UAE, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain. Data from the Commerce Ministry has stated that India's exports to GCC member countries has risen by 58.26 percent; from $27.8 billion in 2020-21 to $44 billion in 2021-22.
A framework agreement on economic cooperation between India and GCC was signed in August 2004, which provided that both sides should consider ways to extend and liberalise trade relations as well as initiate discussions on feasibility of an FTA. After 2 rounds of negotiations held in 2006 and 2008 respectively, GCC had deferred negotiations.
Expressing optimism that the India-UK FTA may get inked before 2023, Sahai said that the Indian and Canadian trade ministers had met on the sidelines of the G20 summit and the FTA talks between both the Commonwealth nations were on fast track, with many rounds already concluded.
He pointed out that trade bodies of both India as well as Canada are being consulted on the possible list of goods and services to be included in the FTA, even as tariff and non-tariff issues are also being looked at.
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