India may consider negotiating a preferential trade agreement (PTA) with Oman to further boost economic ties between the countries, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said on Thursday. India is also under active discussions with Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) for a comprehensive trade agreement, the minister said. GCC is a union of six countries in the Gulf region, namely Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
“We may consider doing a preferential trade agreement with Oman to begin with because we are looking for a comprehensive agreement between the GCC region and India, (which is) under active discussion,” Goyal said. In a PTA, trading partners reduce import duties on certain identified products to boost trade. He also said that there is a vast potential to boost bilateral trade and investments between the countries.
The bilateral trade has increased from USD 5.4 billion in 2020-21 to USD 9.94 billion during 2021-2022. Oman has also agreed to fast-track approval for Indian pharma products that are already registered by the US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA), UK drug regulator MHRA and European Medicines Agency.
Speaking at the India-Oman business council meeting, Oman’s Minister for Commerce, Industry and Investment Promotion Qais bin Mohammed al Yousef invited Indian businesses to explore opportunities.He is leading a 40-member delegation to India. Vikramjit Singh Sahney, Chair – FICCI India-Arab Council and Chairman, Sun International, said there is huge potential for both the countries to further strengthen economic ties.