Muscat – India is looking to sign a free trade agreement (FTA) with Oman along with a number of other countries, the country’s Commerce and Industry minister said on Saturday.
Piyush Goyal, Union Minister of Commerce and Industry, said that the government is negotiating FTAs with various countries and blocs, including the UK, UAE, Oman, Australia, Canada, EU, Russia and the Southern African Customs Union (SACU), comprising Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland, stated an official release from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
Negotiations for the proposed FTAs with the UAE and Australia are “going full steam ahead” and officials of both sides are working on deadlines to conclude talks, Goyal said.
Last month, India and the UAE formally launched negotiations on the pact, officially called the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA). Both sides have expressed desire to reach a mutually beneficial economic deal and aim to conclude negotiations by December 2021 and sign a formal agreement in March 2022.
India and Australia have also agreed to conclude the long-pending FTA by the end of 2022 and an early harvest trade deal by as early as December. “We launched FTA negotiations with the UAE on September 22, and with Australia on September 30. Both are going full stream ahead,” Goyal said.
According to the Indian Embassy in Muscat, bilateral trade between Oman and India during financial year 2019-2020 stood at US$5.931bn, while bilateral trade in 2020-2021 (April 2020 to February 2021) was US$4.63bn. There are over 4,000 India-Oman joint ventures in the sultanate with an estimated investment of over US$7.5bn.
Oman, along with other GCC countries, is working to sign an FTA with the UK government, too. The UK on Friday started the process to sign a post-Brexit trade deal with the GCC