Over the years, the GCC has emerged as a major trading partner for India. Total trade between India and the GCC region increased from USD 80.8 billion in 2009 to USD 120 billion in 2019, Exim Bank said in the report on ''India''s Bilateral Relations with the GCC Countries''.
The growth in trade with GCC members has been largely been in favour of the Gulf countries. India''s trade deficit with the GCC stood at USD 37.2 billion in 2018, which more than doubled from USD 17.1 billion in 2009.
Gulf Cooperation Council is a regional inter-governmental political and economic union of six Arab countries -- the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait, which is home to around 56.8 million people.
Exim Bank said India has been the second largest export destination for GCC and third largest importer, accounting for 10 per cent of GCC''s total exports and imports.
As per the study, India''s exports to the GCC region is highly concentrated towards the UAE.
The UAE accounted for more than 70 per cent of the total exports to the GCC region amounting to USD 29 billion in 2018.
Except for Bahrain and the UAE, India runs a trade deficit with all the other GCC countries. This calls for further expansion and diversification of India''s exports to the GCC countries, Exim Bank said.
"In the long run, for India-GCC relationship to further strengthen and prosper, it is imperative to identify new drivers for India-Gulf synergy and avenues of greater future cooperation," it said.
Expansion of trade based on identified commodities which hold export potential for India would help narrow its high trade deficit with the Gulf, it said.
Diversification of markets, re-engaging to explore a free trade agreement or an economic partnership with GCC, cooperation for allowing temporary movement of people and increased cooperation in services sector, are among the policy catalysts that could help boost the bilateral cooperation, it noted.
Based on import demand in GCC and India''s export capability, the country has potential to expand exports of machinery and mechanical appliances; electrical machinery and equipment, vehicles; pharmaceutical products; pearls, precious stones and metals; articles of iron and steel; and plastics and its articles, the report said. PTI KPM KPM ABM