The prospects of signing a free trade agreement (FTA) between the GCC and India by the end of 2006 will be considered at an upcoming business conference, according to Mohsin bin Khamis al Balushi, adviser to Oman's Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
Balushi made the statement, according to Khaleej Times, before a group of reporters last Sunday while discussing the upcoming 'GCC-India Partnership and Cooperation', conference set for March 25-26 in Muscat.
"The main aim of the conference is to strengthen and promote future economic relations between the GCC states and India in the area of investment, trade, tourism, industry and technology," explained Balushi.
At the GCC-India Business Conference in Mumbai in February 2004, the idea of an FTA was struck down, despite the fact that India and the GCC have become major trading partners.
Furthermore, Indian labor in the Gulf has significantly helped relations between the two countries; some 2.5 million Indians are currently employed in the GCC countries.
The upcoming conference will be attended by commerce and industry ministers from the GCC states and India as well as senior officials from both sides.