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India’s exports to GCC countries grew by 44% in 2021-22: FIEO

Exports to the UAE, India’s second-largest trading partner and largest in terms of exports, surged to $28 billion in the past fiscal year that ended on March 31, 2022

September 21, 2022 / 04:00 PM IST
Representative image

Representative image

Indian exports to the six Gulf Cooperation Council countries grew by 44 per cent to about USD 43.9 billion in 2021-22 fiscal year compared to previous fiscal's USD 27.8 billion with the UAE leading the trade with a remarkable 68 per cent growth, according to an apex trade promotion body.

Exports to the UAE, India’s second-largest trading partner and largest in terms of exports, surged to $28 billion in the past fiscal year that ended on March 31, 2022, from USD 16.7 billion in the 2021 fiscal, according to the Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO), the apex body of India's export promotion councils.

The GCC was established in May 1981. Its members are Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the UAE.

In a statement at the niche expo, Super Sourcing Dubai (SSD), co-located with Propaper Dubai 2022 at Festival Arena, Dubai Festival City, top FIEO officials said paper and allied products exports to the GCC touched USD 638 million in 2021 with the UAE taking a major share in the trade at USD 386 million.

“Our exports performance in the GCC in FY 2021-22 has been marvellous. Apart from the UAE, our exports to Saudi Arabia grew by 49 per cent, Oman by 33 per cent, Qatar by 43 per cent, Kuwait by 17 per cent and exports to Bahrain increased by 70 per cent,” said Ajay Sahai, Director-General and CEO of FIEO.

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In the case of the paper industry, India has a 16 per cent market share in GCC and the target is to corner a 25 per cent market share by 2027 with the signing of Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with other Gulf countries.

India and the UAE signed the CEPA in February this year which came into force on May 1 2022. The cumulative demand for paper and allied products in the GCC market is estimated to be over USD 3.8 billion.

“We see a lot of opportunities for Indian companies post signing of CEPA with the UAE and are sure that participation in the SSD with such a large contingent, perhaps the biggest after Dubai Expo from India, will give a boost to our trade further,” Sahai said, adding that the export prospects will further scale up since zero-duty access for Indian products to the UAE is expected to expand over 5-10 years to 97 per cent of UAE tariff lines, or 99 per cent of Indian exports by value.

SSD is an exclusive show for Indian exporters to get connected with decision-makers in the supermarkets, hypermarkets, retail chains, buying agents and importers in the Middle East, GCC and African region.

“FIEO has been aggressively pushing to enhance India’s exports to the GCC region. In the current financial year, FIEO has planned various activities for the development of India’s export to the region, including exhibitions, B2B delegations, interactive sessions and capacity building programs,” said A Sakthivel, President of FIEO.

He said FIEO has already participated in exhibitions and trade activities in Qatar, Egypt, Jordan, Oman, UAE and Saudi Arabia and there are even more activities lined up in Bahrain, Kuwait, Iraq, Oman and the UAE.

The India-UAE CEPA is expected to lift merchandise trade to USD 100 billion by 2030. Further, the agreement will also open up opportunities for MSMEs and provide job opportunities to the tune of 1 million. Under the CEPA, around 90 per cent of the products exported and 80 per cent of lines of trade from India and to the UAE attract zero duty instantly.
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