Kamal Nath to attend business meet at Muscat

Published on Mar 24, 2006 09:56 PM IST

The Commerce Minister will inaugurate the India-GCC Industrial Conference at Muscat on Saturday.

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None | ByIndo-Asian News Service, New Delhi

Commerce Minister Kamal Nath on Friday left for Oman to attend the second India-GCC Industrial Conference aimed at boosting trade and promoting two-way investment with the Gulf region.

Besides holding discussions with leaders of the six members -- Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates -- of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Kamal Nath will meet Oman's Deputy Prime Minister Sayyid Fahd bin Memoud Al Said and Commerce Minister Maqbool Ali bin Sultan.

He will inaugurate the India-GCC Industrial Conference at Muscat on Saturday.

Indian exports to the GCC region constitute about four per cent of the country's global exports, while its imports from this region account for over 20 per cent of the global imports.

Crude oil and gas account for a major portion of these imports.

The non-oil trade between India and the Gulf nations is estimated to be over $16 billion.

India is in the process of negotiating a free trade agreement with GCC countries, which have charted out a customs union.

In the matter of trade in services and investment cooperation, India will have to initially negotiate separately with each member country of the group, which is still to synergise its rules on the two fronts.

On Sunday, Kamal Nath will visit the UAE where he will call on President Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and have a meeting with the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

En route to Dubai, Kamal Nath will visit the Jebel Ali Free Trade Zone and the Knowledge City.

On Monday, he will interact with non-resident Indians at a reception to be hosted by the Indian Business and Professional Council.

On Tuesday, he will call on Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the vice president and prime minister of the UAE who is also the ruler of Dubai.

Later on Tuesday, he will address the Khaleej Times Interactive Forum in Dubai on the theme "India on the Fast Track".

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