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India-GCC trade and jobs: How big is the relationship?

PTI

New Delhi, Jun 7: India’s bilateral trade with all the six countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), including the UAE and Saudi Arabia, has risen significantly in 2021-22 on account of increasing economic ties between the two regions.

India’s exports to the GCC have increased by 58.26 per cent to about USD 44 billion in 2021-22 against USD 27.8 billion in 2020-21, according to data of the commerce ministry.

The share of these six countries in India’s total exports has risen to 10.4 per cent in 2021-22 from 9.51 per cent in 2020-21.

Similarly, imports rose by 85.8 per cent to USD 110.73 billion compared to USD 59.6 billion in 2020-21, the data showed.

The share of GCC members in India’s total imports rose to 18 per cent in 2021-22 from 15.5 per cent in 2020-21.

Bilateral trade has increased to USD 154.73 billion in 2021-22 from USD 87.4 billion in 2020-21.

These increasing figures assume significance as India is looking at negotiating a free trade agreement with the grouping.

The country has already implemented a comprehensive trade pact with the UAE on May 1, with an aim to boost bilateral trade to USD 100 billion in the coming years.

The GCC was established in May 1981. Its members are Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the UAE.

Mumbai-based exporter and founder chairman of Technocraft Industries India, Sharad Kumar Saraf said the GCC has emerged as a major trading partner for India and there is also huge potential for increasing investments between the two regions.

“The trade relation is bound to grow in the coming years. Reasons for the growth include anti-China sentiments, increasing quality of domestic goods and improvement in international trade. A quantum jump will come when the trade pact will be operationalised properly,” Saraf said.

Another industry expert said the GCC’s substantial oil and gas reserves are of fundamental importance for India’s energy needs and New Delhi can support GCC in meeting its food security requirements.

The top five product categories which were exported from India to GCC countries during 2021-22 included petroleum products; pearls, precious and semi-precious stones; premium metals and articles of imitation jewellery; electrical machinery and equipment; sound recorders and reproducers; television image and sound recorders; iron and steel; and organic chemicals.

The main imported goods included petroleum products, premium metals, imitation jewellery, fertilisers, chemicals and plastics.

The UAE was the third-largest trading partner of India in 2021-22. India’s bilateral trade with the nation increased to USD 72.9 billion in 2021-22 as compared to USD 43.3 billion in 2020-21.

Saudi Arabia was the fourth-largest trading partner last fiscal. Total trade between India and Saudi Arabia too has increased to about USD 43 billion in 2021-22 from USD 22 billion in the previous fiscal.

Two-way commerce with Qatar rose to USD 15 billion in 2021-22 from USD 9.21 billion in 2020-21.

Bilateral trade with Kuwait has jumped to USD 12.3 billion in 2021-22 as compared to USD USD 6.3 billion in the previous financial year.

India also receives foreign direct investments (FDI) from GCC member countries.

FDI worth USD 12.22 billion was received from the UAE during April 2000 to March 2022. It was USD 3.2 billion from Saudi Arabia and USD 488 million from Qatar in the same period.

This is a PTI story. Heading is from Ziraat Times

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