Jaitley urges GCC members to invest in India

Tuesday, 17 February 2004, 08:00 Hrs
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MUMBAI: Commerce Minister Arun Jaitley urged countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to invest more in India during a meeting here Tuesday with ministers, government officials and businessmen from the grouping.

India offers tremendous opportunities for Gulf companies, especially because of age-old links between the two sides, Jaitley told officials on the first day of the two-day GCC-India Industrial Conference. Around 150 GCC delegates are here.

Saudi Minister of Commerce and Industry Hashim bin A. Yamani is leading the visiting delegation that also comprises heads of various commerce chambers.

Abdul Rahman bin Hamad al Attiyah, secretary general of the GCC, called for broad-based economic cooperation between Gulf countries and India.

Jaitley noted that the GCC is India's second largest trading partner after the US, with an annual trade turnover of $6.8 billion.

Over 3.3 million Indians work in the Gulf and send nearly $6 billion annually as remittances while two-thirds of India's oil imports are from the GCC, he said.

The GCC member states will finalise a number of agreements in sectors such as industrial cooperation, trade and investment, information technology, and the training and development of small and medium enterprises in the GCC states.

The GCC comprises the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Oman. Established in 1981, it has emerged as an example of regional economic cooperation and integration. It has set a timetable for establishing a customs union and a monetary union by 2005 and single currency by 2010.

Indian industrialists say companies here must make use of the developments to bolster trade in the region.

The guests are visiting India at the invitation of Jaitley.

Among the top participants here is the Saudi Arabian industrial giant Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC). The largest non-oil industrial firm in the Middle East, SABIC is the world's leading producer of granular urea fertiliser.

"We are one of the sponsors of the conference. We would like to obtain more insights into the Indian market," said a SABIC representative at the meet.

Source: IANS
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