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June 13, 2024

India Poised to Finalize Free Trade Agreement with Oman Early in PM Modi’s Third Term

India is on the verge of finalizing a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Oman within the first 100 days of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s third term. This significant development, reported by the Hindustan Times, follows recent affirmations of strengthened strategic ties between the two nations.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Modi expressed optimism about the burgeoning relationship between India and Oman, asserting that their strategic ties are “set to reach new heights.” This sentiment was reinforced during a review meeting chaired by Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal. Additionally, Sultan Haitham bin Tarik of Oman congratulated Modi on his third term. In response, Modi took to X (formerly Twitter), stating, “Thank His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik of the Sultanate of Oman for his call and deeply appreciate his warm felicitations and words of friendship. The centuries-old India-Oman strategic ties are destined to scale new heights.”

The momentum for the FTA discussions was significantly bolstered following a meeting between Prime Minister Modi and Sultan Haitham bin Tarik in New Delhi on December 16, 2023. During this meeting, the proposed Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) was a major topic of discussion. Subsequently, Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal and Oman’s Trade Minister Qais Bin Mohammed Al Yousef agreed to establish dedicated desks to facilitate the negotiations.

Although negotiations for the FTA were nearly complete during Modi’s previous term, the enforcement of the model code of conduct (MCC) on March 16, due to the announcement of Lok Sabha poll dates, delayed the signing. Now, two officials familiar with the matter have indicated that the agreement is close to being finalized, pending approval from both sides.

Preparatory work for the India-Oman FTA is well underway, with officials confirming that draft documents are being prepared and progress is ongoing. The impending FTA with Oman will mark the first significant bilateral agreement of Modi’s third term as Prime Minister.

The agreement with Oman is expected to enhance India’s energy security and facilitate a cheaper supply of fertilizers. Additionally, it is anticipated to boost foreign investments and lower the prices of Indian exports to Oman, including rice, tea, coffee, spices, dairy products, meat, apparel, steel products, and machinery.

The Commerce Ministry reported a significant increase in bilateral merchandise trade between India and Oman. In 2021-2022, trade surged by 82.64 percent, reaching $9.99 billion. This figure further climbed to $12.39 billion in 2022-2023, with India exporting goods worth $4.48 billion to Oman and importing over $7.9 billion in merchandise.

As India and Oman prepare to cement their economic partnership through the FTA, both nations are poised to benefit from strengthened trade relations and enhanced strategic cooperation. This agreement is not only a testament to the deep-rooted ties between India and Oman but also a significant step towards achieving broader economic goals and regional stability.

Read more latest news on R9 News

Jhumpa Lahiri

Jhumpa Lahiri

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