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Clarity required in Dubai trade agreements: PHDCCI

Written by: Staff
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New Delhi, Mar 27 (UNI) The PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PHDCCI) will lead a business delegation to Dubai to coincide with Commerce Minister Kamal Nath's visit to the region.

Trade talks between India and the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) countries have been announced with working groups in May 2006, leading to a Free Trade Area (FTA) Agreement in early 2007.

Welcoming the overall thrust of liberalisation, PHDCCI President Sushma Berlia, who will lead the business delegation to Dubai said that more clarity was required on the objectives behind such agreements.

While India's crude oil demand was important and this was likely to increase even further consequent to GDP growth, energy security and two-thirds of India's oil imports of 50 billion dollars coming form the GCC group, should not cloud the importance of non-oil trade or possibilities of cooperation in service sectors and investments.

''The ASEAN experience, with a framework agreement with the group not perfectly intermeshed with the FTAs with Singapore and Thailand is likely to be replicated here too,'' Mrs Berlia said. There are already bilateral investment protection, double tax avoidance and even extradition treaties with some GCC countries. For instance should one focus on manufactured products, these have become less relevant and the focus should shift to a CECA.

''India should learn from UAE's vision for economic development, particularly in infrastructure and tap the potential of UAE as a regional hub, as well as attract investments from the region into India's infrastructure development, which requires an estimated 150 billion dollars,'' Mrs Berlia said. In recognition of the GCC emerging as India's second largest partner, PHDCCI has plans of setting up a liason office in Dubai.

UNI SS SD GC1906

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