Skip to content Skip to Search
Skip navigation

India-GCC free trade talks ‘to start in November’

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi decided in September to speed up the FTA negotiations Evan Vucci/Pool via Reuters
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi decided in September to speed up the FTA negotiations
  • Chief negotiators in place
  • Decision last month to proceed
  • Imports and exports surge

India and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) expect to begin discussing a free trade agreement as early as November after the appointment of chief negotiators from both sides, according to Indian commerce ministry officials.

The plans to begin talks on an FTA were announced last November, but delayed due to the non-appointment of a chief negotiator from the GCC, a ministry official told Moneycontrol, an Indian financial news portal.

“The chief negotiator of the GCC has now been appointed and talks should begin soon,” the official added.

The first round of talks should begin within one month, the report said, quoting another government official.

The GCC bloc comprises six countries – Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain.

India and GCC signed a framework agreement in August 2004, followed by two rounds of talks in 2006 and 2008. The third round was shelved as GCC deferred negotiations with all countries and economic groups.

In September 2023, Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi decided to expedite the FTA negotiations.

Imports from GCC countries to India rose 20 percent year on year to $133 billion in 2023, while exports rose 16.7 percent annually to $51.3 billion. 

The UAE is India’s third-largest trading partner, while Saudi Arabia was its fourth-largest trading partner this year.

In February 2022, India became the first country with which the UAE signed a comprehensive economic partnership agreement (Cepa).

Latest articles

Over the first half of the year Sanad Group signed deals with international airlines including Asiana Airlines and Deucalion Aviation

Mubadala-backed Sanad Group reports 53% revenue growth

Sanad Group, the Abu Dhabi-based global aerospace engineering and leasing company, has seen revenues increase by more than half over the first six months of the year. Figures released to AGBI show revenue totalling AED2.3 billion ($620 million) was reported in the first half of the year, up from AED1.5 billion over the same period […]

Malaysia’s HSS Engineers Berhad and its emirati consultancy HSS signed the deal top oversee construction with the Baghdad municipality

UAE company in joint venture to build Baghdad metro

A Malaysian engineering company and its UAE affiliate have jointly won a $316 million contract to oversee the construction of the new Baghdad metro. The building of the planned 148-kilometre network and its 64 stations across the Iraqi capital was slated to begin this month and end in 2029. This timeline might be delayed, however, […]

Mazaya Holding Oman fraud

Al Mazaya reports legal proceedings after alleged fraud

The Omani subsidiary of Al Mazaya Holding has uncovered alleged fraudulent activity by employees of the company, estimated at OR242,000 ($628,000). A criminal complaint has been filed by the Kuwait-based real estate development giant against “some of the company’s employees” regarding collections of the sale and rent of some units, according to filings on Boursa […]