FRAMEWORK AGREEMENT ON ECONOMIC COOPERATION BETWEEN INDIA AND GULF COUNTRIES TO BE SIGNED TOMORROW
Date : 24 Aug 2004
Location : New Delhi
he draft Framework Agreement on Economic Cooperation (FAC) between India and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) consisting of the six Gulf states viz. Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), will be signed here tomorrow, marking a major step towards having closer economic cooperation between India and Gulf countries. The Framework Agreement will be signed by Shri Kamal Nath, Union Minister of Commerce & Industry on behalf of the Government of India and by H.E. Sheikh (Dr.) Mohammed Al-Sabbah Al-Salem Al-Sabbah, the Foreign Minister of the State of Kuwait, who is visiting India from August 24-26, 2004.
The signing of the Framework Agreement is one of the major items on the agenda of the Kuwaiti Foreign Minister’s visit. Kuwait is also currently the Chairman of GCC. One of the highlights of the Framework Agreement is that it provides for exploring the possibility of a Free Trade Area (FTA) between India and the Gulf countries.
Gulf countries are a very important trading partner of India, accounting for over 11% of India’s global exports and with Saudi Arabia and UAE as the two top trading partners of India not only in the GCC block but in the entire West Asia and North Africa (WANA region). India’s exports to GCC amounted to US $ 7.02 billion in 2003-04, up by above 43% over the previous year.