Updated December 26th, 2023 at 19:11 IST
India-Oman FTA to be signed in January 2024
Oman currently ranks as India's third-largest export destination within the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) framework.
A high-ranking government official has indicated that negotiations for the proposed Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) between India and Oman are progressing swiftly, with the potential for the agreement to be finalised as soon as January 2024. The latest round of talks between officials from both nations concluded earlier this month in Muscat.
Highlighting the momentum in discussions, the official remarked, "Progress with Oman has been notably positive, and there's mutual enthusiasm to finalise this agreement."
Substantial progress has been made in finalising the text for most chapters of the agreement. Oman currently ranks as India's third-largest export destination within the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) framework. Post-agreement, Indian exports to Oman are expected to gain momentum, given that more than 80 per cent of India's exports to Oman currently face an average import duty of 5 per cent, with limited trade barriers.
A report by the Global Trade Research Initiative (GTRI) underscores the potential benefits of the free trade agreement. It anticipates a significant uptick in Indian exports to Oman, encompassing products such as motor gasoline, iron and steel, electronics, machinery, textiles, plastics, boneless meat, essential oils, and motor cars, among others. Duty elimination under the agreement is projected to boost exports in various sectors, as outlined in the report.
The implementation of a trade agreement with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in May 2022 adds another layer of significance to India's growing economic ties within the GCC, of which both Oman and the UAE are members.
Ajay Srivastava, Co-Founder of GTRI, pointed out Oman's GDP of approximately $115 billion and a population of 5 million. He highlighted Oman's higher per capita income compared to India, suggesting potential demand for a broader range of higher-value goods and services that India could cater to.
Bilateral trade between India and Oman stood at $12.39 billion in the fiscal year 2022-23. During this period, India's exports to Oman witnessed an increase from $2.25 billion in 2018-19 to $4.48 billion in 2022-23, while imports from Oman amounted to $8 billion.
(With PTI inputs)
Published December 26th, 2023 at 18:20 IST