Bahrain seeks closer trade ties with India
Manama, January 29, 2014
Bahrain is seeking major investments from Indian firms as a high-profile delegation, led by His Majesty King Hamad, is expected to visit India next month.
Transportation Minister and Economic Development Board (EDB) acting chief executive Kamal Ahmed said Bahrain wanted to sign a new double taxation avoidance agreement with India, with which an investment protection pact was already in place. He was quoted by Indian news agency Press Trust of India, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
A delegation, led by Ahmed, is currently in Bengaluru, India, attending the Confederation of Indian Industry's (CII) Partnership Summit, Emerging Global Value Chains: Building Partnerships, which is taking place at the Taj West End Hotel in the capital of the southern Indian state of Karnataka. The summit concludes today.
Several successful high level bilateral meetings and discussions have been conducted in India by a Bahrain business delegation.
The Bahrainis held high-level bilateral meetings to discuss trade and economic partnerships.
This included meetings with India Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma, CII president S Gopalakrishnan, Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah, Malaysia's Minister of International Trade and Industry Mustapa Bin Mohamed, Singapore's Minister in the Prime Minister's Office S Iswaran, and a number of Indian business leaders.
In addition to various round-table discussions and high profile meetings, delegation member Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry chairman Dr Essam Fakhro gave a speech during the Bahrain Country Focus Networking Luncheon.
Ahmed also met International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) director for Geo-economics and Strategy Dr Sanjaya Baru to discuss future co-operation.
IISS has a centre in Manama.
The Bahrain delegation held discussions with select chief executives from various Indian companies and industries to discuss possible future co-operation and investment.
The participants included Raman FibreScience managing director Aroon Raman, chief executive and president Radhu Akella, Manipal Group executive director S Swaminathan and others.
At the event, Ahmed took part in a special plenary session on the emergence of new "mega trading blocs" and their impact on global trade.
The minister also attended a meeting with Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) deputy secretary-general William C Danvers.
Bahrain's history with the OECD has been long-standing, with co-operation dating back to 2004 through the EDB, who have also assisted the OECD with establishing the first OECD programme in the Gulf, as well as the first Centre for Investment in the Arab World.
"We are always delighted to come to India to build on strong economic and trade relationship that exists between the two countries," Ahmed said.
"The high level bilateral discussions held during this event demonstrate that India and Bahrain are already working in partnership to help businesses flourish and our economies to grow.
"We look forward to welcoming the CII back to Bahrain and helping many more Indian businesses access the fast growing Gulf market," he added.
Dr Essam Fakhro said events such as this were an excellent opportunity "to discuss how we can break down barriers even more to encourage stronger economic growth".
"Bahrain has been a trading hub for thousands of years. Trade and economic openness sit at the very heart of our economy and Bahrain is uniquely positioned within the GCC and presents Indian businesses with the ideal platform from which to access the fast growing Gulf market.
"Not only that, Bahrain has a number of international free trade agreements in place, including with the US," he added.
A large number of Indian businesses have already established operations in Bahrain as a means of accessing the wider Gulf market, which is now worth $1.5 trillion and is expected to reach $2trn by 2020.
Leading Indian companies with offices or facilities in Bahrain include Tata Consultancy Services, Tech Mahindra, First Flight, Kims, JBF Industries, Canara Bank, ICICI Bank, Bank of Baroda and State Bank of India. India has long been one of Bahrain's most important trading partners. In 2011 trade between the two countries reached $1.7 billion according to the International Monetary Fund.
The Bahrain delegation includes BCCI treasurer and board member Othman Al Rayes, board member Khalid Al Amin, Dadabhai Group chairman Mohammed Dadabhai, and EDB executive director for business development Vivian Jamal. - TradeArabia News Service