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India is negotiating Free Trade Agreement with 6 Gulf countries

New Delhi: Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) consists of six (06) countries - Kuwait, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain & Qatar. So far two rounds of negotiations have been held. The first round was held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on 21st – 22nd March, 2006 and the second was held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on 9th – 10th September, 2008. The third round of negotiations was to be held in India during 2009, as per the decision taken during the 2nd round of negotiations. However, GCC Secretariat informed that the negotiations with all countries and economic groups, have been deferred until GCC States completely reviews the issue of negotiations. It was further informed that the Secretariat General would inform India, the appropriate date to resume negotiations, as soon as GCC countries decide in the matter. During the course of negotiations, the views of concerned Departments are obtained in taking a decision regarding tariff concessions, if any, to be granted. This information was given by the Minister of State (Independent Charge) in the Ministry of Commerce & Industry Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman in a written reply in Lok Sabha today. The foreign trade (export+import) has increased from 42 billion US $, in 1990-91 to 765 billion US$ in the year 2013-14 with an annual average growth rate of 13.42% and has increased 18 folds during the period. The gap, between value of import and export, which is Trade deficit, has also increased during the said period. The trade deficit has increased from 6 billion US $ in 1990-91 to 136 billion US $ in 2013-14. Foreign trade i.e. exports and imports are influenced by a number of macroeconomic factors of the country and the world, like demand and supply, exchange rates, economic conditions of different countries. Top 10 countries, which have imported more from India than exported to India during 2013-14 are USA, Singapore, Bangladesh, Hong Kong, Netherlands, Sri Lanka, U.K., Kenya, Nepal, Vietnam etc. whereas during 1990-91 such countries were USSR, Hong Kong, Bangladesh, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Egypt, Mauritius, Spain, Afghanistan, Nigeria etc. The details of country wise Exports and Imports and quantity are available in the DGCI&S publication in CD form namely ‘Monthly Statistics of Foreign Trade of India’ Vol. I (Exports) & Vol.II (Imports). Such CD’s are regularly sent to Parliament Library by DGCI&S, Kolkata. This information was given by the Minister of State (Independent Charge) in the Ministry of Commerce & Industry Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman in a written reply in Lok Sabha today.

About Sanjay Trivedi

Sanjay Trivedi is honorary editor of Asia Times. He is senior Indian Journalist having vast experience of 25 years. He worked in Janmabhoomi, Vyapar, Divya Bhaskar etc. newspapers and TV9 Channel as well as www.news4education.com. He also served as Media Officer in Gujarat Technological University.

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