Indian business forum to push for FTA with UAE

The UAE could become the new manufacturing hub of India once a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) is signed between the two nations, a business forum here has said. 

The Indian Business Leaders Forum (IBLF) also said it would make all out efforts to see the FTA become a reality in the coming months. 

At a round table organised here, business leaders asked the community to strategise their businesses given the current economic and political scenario in the region and global uncertainties. 

Business leaders at the round table also discussed the proposed Direct Tax Code (DTC) to be implemented by the government of India and its effect on NRI status. 

The IBLF has decided to call on Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Yashwant Sinha , the Chairman of the Parliament Standing Committee on Finance and former Finance Minister of India, to submit a memorandum. 

"The Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between India and the UAE.; between India and the GCC should quickly be signed without further loss of time and IBLF would soon prepare a delegation of business leaders from the UAE to meet with the Union Commerce Minister of India and various other officials in the ministry," IBLF President Sudesh K Aggarwal said at the roundtable. 

Aggarwal said the IBLF will work hand-in-hand with the Indian missions in the UAE so that the FTA becomes a reality soon. The FTA is expected to remove restrictive duties, push down tariffs on goods and services and pave the way for free flow of investment and goods to ultimately equip the nations for an intensive economic engagement. 

A formal launch of the IBLF would be held in September, 2011. 

On the opportunities for investment in India, they said that state governments should come out with more specific project proposals for investment, which will generate interest amongst business leaders, as against presenting investment opportunities in general. 

In the coming months, the IBLF would facilitate investment by "any investors" from the UAE and the region into India and help them to make appropriate contacts. 

The business leaders also deliberated on creating an India Investment Desk and an Investment Consortium -- a business model whereby emerging opportunities will be identified and investments will be made on a collective basis, Aggarwal said. 

The IBLF was launched in December, 2010, following the inauguration of the India Trade & Exhibition Centre during the official visit of President Pratibha Patil to the UAE

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