NEW DELHI: Encouraged by the successful conclusion of a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) between the UAE and India last week, India’s Commerce and Industry Minister, Piyush Goyal, has said the next step is to conclude a similar agreement with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

Encouraged by the record speed with which the CEPA was negotiated and finalised, Goyal told a meeting in Mumbai that the Indian government "looks forward to conclude a similar economic partnership agreement with the GCC during this year itself".

Goyal tantalised his audience in Mumbai with the prospect of commercially engaging India with combined nominal GDP of US$1.6 trillion of the GCC countries. "We are also confident of our negotiating ability, we have conducted negotiations in a rapid manner with UAE, and we believe that can be replicated with the GCC." Nayef Falah Mubarak Al Hajraf, Secretary-General of the GCC, had met Goyal in November last year to discuss commercial relations between the GCC and India.


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