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India Poised To Sign FTA With Oman In Early Days Of Modi's Third Term

Updated: Jun 12, 2024 04:46:36pm

India Poised To Sign FTA With Oman In Early Days Of Modi's Third Term

New Delhi, Jun 12 (KNN) The government of India is expected to finalise a long-awaited free trade agreement (FTA) with the Sultanate of Oman in the opening 100 days of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's third consecutive term, according to officials familiar with the negotiations.

The proposed Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) had been under discussion during Modi's previous tenure but was delayed due to the enforcement of the model code of conduct ahead of India's recent general election.

However, senior officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, have indicated the deal is now nearing completion and awaits formal political approval from both nations.

"The India-Oman FTA is almost finalised, awaiting [formal] political nod from both sides," one official stated. Another confirmed that draft documents have been prepared, terming it ‘a work in progress.’

Modi himself signalled the imminent signing of the trade pact in a social media post on Tuesday, expressing gratitude to Oman's Sultan Haitham bin Tarik for congratulatory remarks on the Prime Minister's re-election victory.

"The centuries-old India-Oman strategic ties are destined to scale new heights," Modi affirmed.

For India, the CEPA with Oman is anticipated to bolster energy security through cheaper imports of fertilisers and fossil fuels from the Gulf nation.

It could also open avenues for increased Omani investments across sectors. Conversely, the agreement may reduce tariffs on Indian exports like rice, tea, dairy, meat, apparel, steel, and machinery entering the Omani market.

The bilateral trade relationship has exhibited robust growth in recent years, nearly doubling from USD 5.46 billion in 2020-21 to USD 9.99 billion in 2021-22, and further rising to USD 12.39 billion in the fiscal year concluding March 2023.

If actualised, the Oman CEPA would mark the fourth free trade pact signed by New Delhi since 2022, following similar agreements struck with the UAE, Australia, and a quartet of European states last year. Negotiations are also ongoing with the UK, Peru, and the European Union.

India and Oman have longstanding economic and diplomatic ties dating back over six decades. The two nations formalised relations in 1955 and have cultivated strategic cooperation across multiple domains, underpinned by centuries of people-to-people exchange.

(KNN Bureau)


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