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India, Gulf nations to explore FTA

Business Standard, India

26 August 2004

India, Gulf nations to explore FTA

Our Economy Bureau / New Delhi

India and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) today signed a framework agreement on economic cooperation as a first step towards exploring the possibility of a free trade area (FTA) between them. The framework agreement is the first bilateral agreement entered into by the United Progressive Alliance government.

The agreement was signed by Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath on behalf of India and Mohammed Al-Sabbah Al-Salem Al Sabbah, the visiting foreign minister of Kuwait, on behalf of the GCC. At present, Kuwait chairs the six-member council.

The India-GCC Framework Agreement on Economic Cooperation (FAC) seeks to expand and liberalise bilateral trade relations, as well as initiate discussions on the feasibility of a FTA.

Moreover, the agreement provides for setting up of a joint committee on economic cooperation to oversee the implementation of the framework and other bilateral agreements or protocols.

It also includes arrangements for setting up joint investment projects and facilitating corporate investments in various fields.