India and Oman commence talks for Free Trade Agreement, eyes duty concessions

India and Oman have commenced negotiations for a potential free trade agreement, indicating the likelihood of duty concessions on India’s exports to Oman. Among India’s principal exports to Oman are mineral fuels, inorganic chemicals, compounds of precious metals, and iron and steel, while top imports include oil, fertilizers, and plastics.

Officials have expressed a commitment to expedite the negotiations, drawing parallels with the existing agreement with the UAE. In the April-September period of the FY24, India recorded exports to Oman totaling $2 billion and imports amounting to $2.1 billion.

An official remarked that the discussions are underway, aiming for a comprehensive agreement. The government has identified several sectors, including petroleum products, gems and jewelry, engineering products, pharmaceuticals, cement and ceramic products, ready-made textiles, and footwear, as having potential for increased trade with Oman.

India is considering advocating for accelerated approval of its pharmaceutical products already registered by the US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA), UK drug regulator MHRA, and the European Medicines Agency, mirroring a provision in the trade pact with the UAE. Given that Oman and the UAE are both part of the Gulf Cooperation Council, with which India aspires to establish a trade pact, discussions also involve examining non-tariff barriers and product-specific rules within the framework of the India-Oman Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) negotiations.

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