India may consider preferential trade agreement with Oman: Piyush Goyal

  • If the proposed trade deal goes through, Oman would be the second Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) after the UAE to have a trade agreement with India

Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal on Thursday said that India may consider negotiating a preferential trade agreement (PTA) with Oman. If the proposed trade deal goes through, Oman would be the second Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) after the UAE to have a trade agreement with India. 
Experts have said that gulf nations are working to diversify away from the conventional oil-based economy to modern financial sectors and free trade agreements (FTAs) are part of the effort to do so. 
India is also negotiating a trade agreement with the GCC which includes UAE, Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Oman will also be part of the negotiations for a trade agreement that India is having with the GCC countries. 
“We have discussed certain items where there are some issues that need to be resolved. We may consider doing a preferential trade agreement with Oman, to begin with, because we are looking for a comprehensive agreement between the GCC region and India,” Goyal said during the India-Oman Joint Business Council meeting. 
Bilateral trade between the two countries has risen from $5.4 billion in 2020-21 to $ 9.94 billion during 2021-2022, up 82.6%. Indian firms have invested in Oman in various sectors like iron and steel, cement, fertilizers, textile, cables, chemicals, automotive, etc. 
The Commerce Ministry had said on Wednesday that Oman has also agreed to fast-track approval for Indian pharma products that are already registered by the US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA), UK drug regulator MHRA and European Medicines Agency.
There are over 6,000 Indian enterprises and establishments in Oman with an estimated investment of $ 7.5 billion. Cumulative FDI equity inflows from Oman to India during the period April 2000-December 2021 have amounted to $558.68 million, the ministry added.
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