India and GCC to resume talks on free trade agreement

India and GCC to resume talks on free trade agreement

NEW DELHI: India and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have agreed to resume talks on a free trade agreement, according to India's Trade Minister Piyush Goyal, as his nation pursues tighter ties with one of its top trading partners.

The GCC is a union of six Gulf countries: Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, and Bahrain.

These negotiations are India and the GCC's third effort to reach a trade agreement, following talks in 2006 and 2008.

Food security, energy security, and technological transfers are among the mutually agreed-upon topics of focus in the talks, according to GCC Secretary-General Nayef Falah M. Al-Hajraf.

According to Goyal, the GCC is India's largest commercial partner, with $154 billion in bilateral product trade and $14 billion in bilateral services trade in 2021-22.

"GCC countries account for over 35% of India's oil imports and 70% of its gas imports," he explained.
India inked a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with the UAE earlier this year to assist Indian exporters to tap into the Gulf Arab state, which serves as a trading hub, for greater access to markets in Africa and Europe.

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