FTA between India, GCC likely to be inked by '08
India and the Gulf Cooperation Council are working to finalise the Free Trade Agreement by this year end which will give further fillip to bilateral trade ties.
"Negotiations concerning the GCC and India FTA are expected to be finalised by the end of the year and the agreement to be signed by early next year," Indian Ambassador to Bahrain, Balkrishna Shetty, said.
"Bahrain is keen to have this agreement and if there are hold ups, the country will go ahead with this," he said at a meeting in Manama.
Bilateral trade volume between India and Bahrain last year was $532.08 million compared to $343.59 million five years ago.
Shetty said more Indian investors were seeking business opportunities in the Kingdom to take advantage of its FTA with the US.
"Bahrain is the only country in the Gulf that has an FTA with the US. So, Indian companies are coming here to gain access to the US market," he said.
Describing the Kingdom as the most liberal country in the Gulf region, he said that Indian investors can strike joint ventures with Baharinian companies.
"Bahrain can be a hub for us (India) in the Gulf and the Middle East. There are many opportunities for joint ventures between India and Bahrain," Shetty was quoted as saying in Gulf Daily News.
Among the sectors where there can be tie-ups are manufacturing, services, education, training, infrastructure projects, aluminum, petrochemicals, information technology, tourism and healthcare, he said.