IT, petrochemicals, healthcare to spur India-GCC trade

With the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries firming up projects worth $450 billion in 2014, Indian investors have huge opportunities for investment in knowledge and skill based services, particularly in IT field.

Qatar, UAE and Kuwait are expected to implement projects worth more than $70 billion, $85 billion and $70 billion respectively in 2014, Doha Bank Group CEO R Seetharaman said.

"GCC is expected to attract $57 billion into petrochemical industry over the next five years. The growing demand for healthcare services coupled with regulatory changes and emphasis on quality healthcare makes the GCC huge potential for the Indian Healthcare companies," he said at a presentation on opportunities in GCC countries.

He said Qatar planned to spend more than $1 billion in next five years to build and equip hospitals and medical facilities in the kingdom.

On the bilateral trade between GCC and India, Seetharaman said the trade increased by eight per cent in 2012-13 when compared to previous year over $159 billion.

Giving insights on the investment scenario in the GCC during a knowledge-sharing session with the Indian industry in Doha recently, he said, "India and GCC nations can harness strong energy relationship by extending their partnership to manufacture value-added products such as refining, petrochemicals, plastics, fertilisers and pharmaceuticals."

He believes Indian economy is an ideal source for sourcing and developing agro-based value chain in the GCC region.

"Indian investors in turn have huge opportunities for investment in knowledge and skill based services in GCC, particularly in fields like IT. With greater emphasis on education sector and push for scientific research facilities in the GCC, universities and research institutes from India can use their expertise and the market opportunities to expand in the region," he said.

While Imports of GCC from India increased by 13 per cent in 2012-13 when compared to previous year to $51 billion, exports have gone up by six per cent during the same time period when compared to previous year to $8 billion.

India and GCC identified sectors like oil and gas, fertiliser and information technology as key areas of cooperation. In the financial year that ended in March 2013, remittances from the GCC to India rose to $24.93 billion from $16.43 billion in 2011.

"There is a large market for Qatar's LNG, oil and petrochemical sectors in India. The bilateral trade between Qatar and India during 2012-13 exceeded $16 billion." he added.

GCC is a political and economic union of Arab states bordering the Persian Gulf, namely Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

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