India’s relations with the Gulf countries received a big
boost with the 3rd India-GCC Business Conference
(Industrial Forum) adopting the Mumbai Declaration to enhance economic
engagement between the two sides in number of new areas and with both sides
agreeing to expedite conclusion of the proposed Free Trade Agreement (FTA)
between India and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.
A major outcome has been the decision to facilitate and
expedite projects in the field of agriculture and food processing which has been
identified as a new sector with significant opportunities for trade and
investment. GCC States would receive and facilitate the visits of Indian agro
processing companies particularly of the Agricultural and Processed Food
Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) of India and India will
It has also been decided that in order to promote joint
venture projects of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in both India and GCC
countries, a holding company would be set up with private and public sector
participation in India and GCC States.
Further, the four specific areas in which both sides will
explore and enhance economic cooperation are: (1) Real Estate Development; (2)
Energy (Oil, Gas and Power); (3) Petrochemicals; and (4) Infrastructure Sectors
particularly ports, airports, railways, road transport and highways. Both sides
will actively upgrade the investment climate and trade of goods and services in
accordance with the relevant legislations of the countries concerned.
Earlier, in his valedictory address, Shri Kamal Nath,
Commerce and Industry Minister, pointed out that while “both sides have
recognized that oil has and will continue to be the mainstay of India-GCC
economic cooperation, there has been an increased recognition of the fact that
while India needs to secure its energy needs through increased Gulf cooperation,
both sides cannot afford to overlook the opportunities emerging in other
sectors. India’s global comparative advantages place her on a higher keel as an
attractive investment destination and hence a natural partner for GCC countries.
FDI equity flows in India have grown three-fold from US$ 5.5 billion in 2005-06
to US$ 16 billion in 2006-07. Buoyed by this growth, this year we have set
ourselves a target of US$ 30 billion in FDI”. Countries from the GCC could look
at India to invest their surplus petrodollars (thanks to the spiraling oil
prices) in India and explore avenues for investments in this low-cost, labour-rich
manufacturing and industrial processing base, he added.
The 3rd India-GCC Business Conference (Industrial Forum)
hosted by the Government of India was held in Mumbai, India on 29-30 May 2007
with the theme of “India-GCC Investment Opportunities” and concluded here this
morning with the adoption of Mumbai Declaration. The Conference chaired by Shri
Kamal Nath was attended by the GCC Ministers – Dr Hashim Abdullah Yamani,
Minister of Commerce and Industry, Saudi Arabia and Mr. Maqbool bin Ali bin
Sultan, Minister of Commerce and Industry, Oman and official representatives of
other GCC States, besides senior Government officials headed by Dr Ajay Dua,
Secretary (Industrial Policy and Promotion), Ministry of Commerce & Industry and
representatives of trade and industry including CII, FICCI, the Gulf
organization for Industrial Consulting and the Federation of GCC Chambers.