Firstpost - 15 December 2023
India, Oman may finalise details of free trade agreement soon
By Ajeyo Baso
Additional Secretary in the ministry Rajesh Agarwal provided additional information regarding the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework For Prosperity (IPEF), a 14-country alliance, stating that the member nations had signed the supply chain agreement and ’we are looking forward to ratifying the same
According to a top government official, India and Oman are anticipated to wrap up discussions for a comprehensive free trade deal soon, with the goal of enhancing bilateral trade.The second round of negotiations for the comprehensive economic cooperation agreement (CEPA) was completed earlier this month in Muscat by representatives of the two nations.
According to Commerce Secretary Sunil Barthwal, India already has a similar agreement with the UAE, and Oman and the UAE share certain industrial, manufacturing, and product features.He told reporters here, “With Oman, there is a very good progress and both sides are very eager to conclude this deal, so we feel that it will be completed very soon.”Both sides have reached an agreement on the text of the majority of the chapters.Among the nations that make up the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Oman is the third-largest export destination.
From USD 5 billion in 2018–19 to USD 12.39 billion in 2022–2023 in bilateral trade. From USD 2.25 billion in 2018–19 to USD 4.48 billion in 2022–2023—India’s exports have increased. Once both sides negotiate a full free trade agreement, Indian commodities worth USD 3.7 billion, including machinery, petrol, iron and steel, and electronics, will see a major rise in Oman, according to research tank GTRI.
The secretary stated that India has offered the GCC the choice of “either you do it as a bloc or you go ahead individually” when it comes to beginning free trade agreements. Regarding the trade deal between India and the European Union (EU), the ministry of commerce reported that as of October, six rounds of negotiations had been concluded.The government reported that negotiations are moving forward on the trade deal between India and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland are members of EFTA.
To strengthen their economic links, the two areas are negotiating a Trade and Economic Partnership Agreement (TEPA).The topics of discussion during the most recent round of negotiations, which took place in Geneva in November, were products, services, origin regulations, intellectual property rights, and trade facilitation.
Additional Secretary in the ministry Rajesh Agarwal provided additional information regarding the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework For Prosperity (IPEF), a 14-country alliance, stating that the member nations had signed the supply chain agreement and “we are looking forward to ratifying the same this month”.
The agreement on supply chain resilience would enhance crisis coordination and lessen the likelihood of supply chain shocks causing economic disruptions.On May 23 of last year, in Tokyo, the US and other Indo-Pacific region partners jointly inaugurated IPEF.
Four pillars support the framework’s structure: commerce, supply chains, the clean economy, and the fair economy (which includes matters like taxation and anti-corruption). India has acceded to all save the trade pillar.
He stated that agreements on a clean economy and fair economy are finalising their legal drafts as the negotiations come to an end. By the end of February, the final wording for these two accords is anticipated to be released to the public, and by March, he stated, “we hope that the final text” is prepared. Members of the bloc include the US, Vietnam, Australia, Brunei, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and the United States.