The Hindu, India
Oman disappointed with pace of Indo-GCC FTA talks
29 May 2007
Mumbai, May 29 (PTI): Oman today expressed disappointment with the slow pace of talks on Free Trade Agreement between India and the Gulf Cooperative Council and asked officials of both sides to take it up on priority.
"I am disappointed with the FTA talks between India and GCC... Almost nothing has happened since the last meeting in June 2006," Sultanate of Oman Minister of Commerce and Industry, Maqbool Ali Sultan, said on the sidelines of the Third India-GCC Industrial Forum.
However, he expressed the hope that FTA talks conclude by the year-end or early 2008 and a formal agreement is signed by September 2008.
"Next year, Oman takes over the presidency of the GCC and we hope that a formal agreement is signed by September 2008," he said.
Earlier, Union Minister of Commerce and Industry, Kamal Nath, cited human resource problems as discussion is on with various countries on FTA.
"The India-GCC FTA should be given priority as already India is the second largest trading partner for GCC...the challenges are on both sides...but it should happen as it would open up more opportunities," Sultan said.
He said that GCC expects to make an investment of US$ 250 billion in Asia by 2010 and India should work toward cornering a large pie.