Indian trade body set to launch first Middle East office

Confederation of Indian Industry's move comes as trade between India and the GCC rises to $160bn
Indian trade body set to launch first Middle East office
(AFP/Getty Images)
By Andy Sambidge
Mon 08 Sep 2014 02:02 PM

The Confederation of Indian Industry on Monday announced that it will launch its first office in the Middle East as trade with GCC countries continues to grow.

Officials said the GCC is one of India’s most important trade and investment partners and the CII’s new Bahrain office will aim to build on this relationship by encouraging Indian investment into the region.

The launch represents a further strengthening of the relationship between Bahrain and India. There are over 350,000 Indian residents in Bahrain and total trade between India and Bahrain in 2011 exceeded $1.7 billion

The CII is India’s leading business organisation, founded in 1895 and with more than 7,200 members and an indirect membership of over 100,000 enterprises from around 242 national and regional sectoral industry bodies.

The Indian Ministry of trade and industry revealed that trade value between India and GCC states increased from $147.5 billion in 2012 to reach $160 billion in 2013

Bahrain's Economic Development Board (EDB) also announced that it has signed an agreement with the Overseas Indian Facilitation Centre (OIFC) to work together in promoting cooperation between Bahrain and India in a variety of key areas, including financial services and research.

Kamal bin Ahmed, Minister of Transportation and acting chief executive of the Bahrain EDB, said: “We are delighted to be hosting the CII in Bahrain – Indian firms have a great deal to offer the kingdom, and the GCC market, which is currently valued at $1.6 trillion, presents an excellent opportunity for Indian businesses. This new office will build on what are already strong ties between our countries and the CII are the ideal partner to be working with.

“This announcement, along with the agreement we have signed with OIFC, shows our commitment to the Bahraini-Indian relationship, a relationship that has been at the heart of making Bahrain what it is, and we look forward to welcoming more businesses in the future.”

Chandrajit Banerjee, director general, CII, added: “The Gulf is a very important partner for Indian businesses and we are delighted to be opening our first office in the region as we look to work for Indian Corporates as they look to expand internationally. Similarly, it would also facilitate promote investment from this region to India.

“The opening of our first office in the region is yet another step in developing our longstanding partnership with Bahrain and the region, and we are very excited about the possibilities this will bring in the future.”

Bahrain recently announced a new visa policy, which will be implemented in 2015, which enables residents of India to apply for electronic visas and to be able to spend longer periods of time in Bahrain.

The move came after a number of high profile Bahraini delegations to India in recent years, including the historical visit of King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa earlier this year and official state visits led by the Crown Prince of Bahrain, First Deputy Prime Minister, and chairman of the EDB in 2012 and 2013.

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