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India seeks Saudi support for GCC trade pact

Posted on Feb 27 2014 | IANS

New Delhi, Feb 27 : India Thursday sought Saudi Arabia's support for early conclusion of the free trade agreement with the six nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.

Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma, during a meeting here with his Saudi counterpart Tawfig Fawzan Alrabiah, emphasised the need for early conclusion of the trade talks and urged the Gulf kingdom to play a proactive role.

"Both the Ministers pointed out the need to ink a free trade agreement between the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries and India for boosting trade," according to an official statement released after the meeting.

India and the six GCC countries that include Oman, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, have identified sectors like oil and gas, fertilizer and information technology as key areas of cooperation.

The Indian minister highlighted the need to diversify India's exports to Saudi Arabia. He mentioned the areas like pharmaceuticals, automobiles, textiles, sugar and wheat, commerce and industry ministry said in a statement.

"The Saudi side, on the other hand, highlighted the need for logistics and transportation under the services sector on their part," it said.

During the meeting the two sides agreed to work towards deeper economic engagement including through more investments, joint ventures and technology transfers.

"Both the Ministers stressed on the need to transform the buyer-seller relationship, into one of deeper energy partnership with investments in petro-chemical complexes, modernisation of refineries, and joint ventures."

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