Qatar and India sign trade agreements

Qatar and India signed a slew of bilateral trade agreements at the second meeting of Qatari-Indian Ministerial Committee held here yesterday. The Minister of State for International Cooperation and Acting Minister of Business and Trade, H E Dr Khalid bin Mohammad Al Attiyah led the discussions on behalf of Qatar. The Indian delegation was led by T K A Nair, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister.

Talking to reporters, Al Attiyah said the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and India would sign the proposed free trade agreement in the immediate future. He said bilateral trade between India and Qatar has been steadily growing over the last few years. “The trade volume rose by 14.3 percent in 2008 to reach $3.7bn. This indicates the expected increase in trade in the current year”, he said.

Pointing out that Qatar is interested in investing in various sectors in India, he said that a committee has been formed to study and identify the fields that will provide greater value to both sides. The minister added that since the first meeting between India and Qatar held in February, the relations have developed significantly.

The Minister said that Qatar exports a total of 7.5 million tonnes of gas annually to India. T K A Nair said that the two sides discussed the working mechanisms in line with the agreements signed between the prime ministers of both countries during their recent meeting.

Yesterday’s meeting also witnessed the signing of a set of bilateral pacts including agreement on economic and technical cooperation. A convention on protection and promotion of investment including a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Indian Industries Federation and Qatar Chamber of Commerce and Industry aimed at establishing a joint businessmen’s council, and a MoU between the two countries in air services and an agreement on cooperation in the fields of security and law enforcement between the two countries was also signed.

By Satish Kanady

© The Peninsula 2009

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