GCC-Indian businessmen urged to tap investment opportunities

Business leaders from the six Gulf States and India are taking part in the event titled “Opportunities and Challenges”

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Minister of Commerce and Industry Tawfiq Al-Rabiah urged Gulf and Indian business leaders and investors to seize the prevailing investment climate and enhance business ties.

He made the remarks on Wednesday while inaugurating the 4th GCC-India Industrial Forum at Bay La Sun Hotel at King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) in Rabigh.

Hundreds of business leaders and top company executives from the six Gulf States and India are taking part in the two-day event titled “Opportunities and Challenges.”

Speaking on behalf of India’s Minister of Commerce and Industry Nirmala Sitharaman, Ravneet Kaur, joint secretary at India’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry, called for taking the strong GCC-India socio-cultural and economic ties to new heights.

In his speech, Al-Rabiah highlighted the geographical and cultural proximity of the Gulf Cooperation Council states and India.

“Centuries ago, Arab traders were instrumental in laying strong foundations for business and economic ties with India.

This also produced big impact in establishing strong cultural contacts and exchanges between the two countries,” he said.

While noting the fast growth in the volume of trade exchange between the GCC and India, Al-Rabiah called for taking advantage of opportunities to further enhance business and economic ties in diverse fields and herald a new era of bilateral strategic partnership and cooperation.

The minister also hoped that the top executives and business leaders of both sides would come out with concrete steps to build strong partnership and joint ventures in different fields during the forum.

Addressing the forum, Kaur invited Gulf businessmen and investors to tap the huge potential of investment opportunities in India. “India needs $1 trillion worth investments within the coming five years, especially in the infrastructure sector. The government is keen to move forward quickly with further simplifying the procedures to the maximum,” she said. The Indian official drew attention to the huge amount of changes taking place in the world’s largest democracy. “Under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, large scale and fundamental changes are going on in India. The government has embarked on ambitious initiatives such as Make in India, Digital India etc and all these generate great investment opportunities for Gulf investors, especially in the fields oil and gas, information technology and communications, healthcare, and food security,” she said while highlighting that India has achieved an unprecedented 7.5 percent GDP growth rate this year, bypassing even China and other major economies.

The inaugural plenary session was also addressed by Abdulrahim Naqi, secretary general of Federation of Gulf Cooperation Council Chambers (FGCCC), Shobana Kamineni, vice president of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Fahd Al-Rasheed, group executive officer and managing director of Emaar Economic City, Reyhan Mubarak Fayez, head of economic relations at the GCC general secretariat, and Dr. Abdullah Merie Bin Mahfouz, member of JCCI.

Speakers at the first plenary session titled “Promising investment opportunities in GCC and India” underscored the need for further enhancing bilateral business ties and pumping billions of dollars of investments in several vital and most promising sectors in between the GCC states and India. The session highlighted that GCC, as a collective entity, holds tremendous economic as well as geo-political significance for India. The GCC countries, which are moving ahead rapidly with their economic integration efforts, has emerged as a major trading partner for India and that it has vast potential as India’s investment partner for the future. Abdulrahim Naqi was the moderator of the session, in which the speakers were Ravneet Kaur, Adnan Mandorah, secretary general of Jeddah Chamber of Commerce & Industry (JCCI), Reyhan Mubarak Fayez, Mohammed Al-Hussaini, director of economic research department at Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and Rayan Qutub, CEO of Industrial Valley at KAEC.

B.S. Mubarak, consul general of India, moderated the parallel session on “Healthcare/healthcare tourism/pharma”. There were also parallel sessions on “Cooperation between GCC and Indian businesswomen communities”, and “Finance and role of sovereign funds in financing projects/SMEs and youth projects.” There will be four parallel sessions on Thursday, the concluding day of the forum, organized by FGCCC, in cooperation with the Council of Saudi Chambers (CSC), JCCI, and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). More than 100 business leaders and officials from Saudi Arabia and other GCC states, and 42-member delegation from India are attending the event.

This arcticle was first published in the Saudi Gazette on November 19, 2015.

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