New Delhi: The two-way Indo and Arab nation’s trade is poised to touch $55 bn (Rs2,20,000 crore) by 2010 from the current level of $24 bn, according to Secretary General and Chief of the Cabinet of League of Arab States, Mr Heshm Youssef.
The two-way trade of India and Arab League of nations jumped by 20% between fiscal 2005-06 to 2006-07. In 2005-06, trade stood at $20 bn, potential for which will exceed manifold in view of better bilateral relations that have been emerging between the two regions.
Addressing the ‘Interactive session on growing trade opportunities’ between India and the Arab League of Nations, Mr Youssef said that the two-way trade would almost tripple in the next three years.
Projections however do not include oil trade and therefore the projected level of $55 bn is for only non-oil commodities. India and Arab League have jointly mooted a proposal for setting up the investment forum to increase economic cooperation in areas of IT, ITEs, science and technology, petrochemicals and petroleum, heavy engineering, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, automobile, garments, gems and jewellery, textiles and components.
The proposed investment forum will discuss among the highest authorities of the two sides so that a firm and timely economic framework is made out of it to achieve the projected targets and strike cooperation in the identified areas.
India and Arab League of nations are also in favour of finalizing bilateral trade agreement in current fiscal where possibilities for comprehensive economic cooperation agreement would be incorporated to share economic gains on mutually beneficial conditions.
Arab League of nations were finalizing trade agreements with China, EU, Pakistan, Australia and host of other countries but their first preference would be to have a comprehensive economic package in place through which potential trade economies that collectively exist in India and Arab are realized for the prosperity of both regions.
Mr Youssef said that the strategic relevance of the Gulf region for India is to interact with investors and entrepreneurs of the Gulf region to avail of exciting new opportunities in India through joint ventures and collaborations in various sectors. “We believe that Indo-Gulf economic co-operation will require big companies, Indian firms and Gulf companies - to invest in each other’s countries in a significant manner. And they would be able to function in a free, efficient and investor friendly environment”, said Mr. Youssef.
He added that there are similarities between India and the Gulf countries and their entrepreneurs should play a key role in contributing to their growth. There are several other key areas such as ports, power, tourism, roads, gems and jewellery and textiles as important for Indo-Gulf operation that would generate billions of dollars in business over the next three years.