Indian exports to Bahrain increased by 70 per cent during fiscal year 2021-22, the highest in the region, according to the top official at India’s largest export promotion agency.

Dr Ajay Sahai, director-general and chief executive of Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO), has described the country’s exports performance in the GCC as “marvellous”.

Speaking at the Super Sourcing Dubai (SSD) expo at Dubai Festival City yesterday, he said Indian exports to the GCC grew by 44pc in FY2021-22 to $43.9 billion compared to last fiscal’s $27.8bn, with the UAE alone posting 68pc growth, valued at $28bn against $16.7bn in 2021, followed by Saudi Arabia, which saw 49pc growth, Qatar up 43pc, Oman up 33pc and Kuwait, seeing a rise of 17pc.

The expo is co-located with Propaper Dubai 2022, where top FIEO officials said paper and allied products exports from India to the GCC touched $638m in 2021 with the UAE taking a major share in the trade at $386m.

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

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

“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,” Dr 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 97pc of UAE tariff lines, or 99pc 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 Indian export to the region, including exhibitions, B2B delegations, interactive sessions and capacity building programmes,” said Dr A Sakthivel, president of FIEO.

He said the federation 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.


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