New Delhi, Feb 20: Union Commerce & Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu said on Wednesday that India too is looking to invest in Saudi Arabia so that the relations between the two nations are taken to a new heights.
''For this eight working groups have been set-up to identify companies in Saudi Arabia and India who can work together,'' he said during his meet with a Saudi business delegation here.
Mr Prabhu said to resolve any issues for Saudi business and investments, the Commerce and Industry Ministry has put in place a fast track mechanism to deal with any issues through a single window.
India imports around 17 per cent of country's crude oil requirement from the Kingdom.
In 2017-18, the India-Saudi bilateral trade has increased by 9.56 per cent to USD 27.48 billion.
The Saudi delegation was led by Kamel Al-Munajjed, Chairman of Saudi Indian Business Council.
During the discussions, the Commerce Minister said India’s energy security was ensured due to the continuous and uninterrupted supply of petroleum products from Saudi Arabia.
''But now it is time for both the countries to go beyond petroleum and diversify into new products, businesses and regions,'' he said.
''Opportunities are endless for both the countries to collaborate and work together in new regions like Africa. Both Saudi Arabia and India have to now look beyond the Gulf region and explore new markets,'' he said.
Mr Prabhu welcomed Saudi investment in businesses like medical implants, agro- processing, education and other sunrise sectors and stated that this will not only help India but also benefit Saudi Arabia in expanding business opportunities.
The Saudi business delegation informed Commerce Minister that there was a need to prioritise the SME industries of both countries as they are the future of both economies and SMEs will lead to employment generation.
The Saudi delegation consisted of members with interests in IT, logistics, communications, health and waste management.
Saudi Arabia today is India’s 4th largest trade partner after China, the US and Japan, and is a major source of energy.
During this period, India's imports from Saudi Arabia reached USD 22.06 billion, registering a increase of 10.50 per cent over previous year (USD 19.97 billion) whereas exports to Saudi Arabia reached USD 5.41 billion registering an increase of 5.88 per cent over previous year (USD 5.11 billion).
The current bilateral trade (April- Oct 2018 provisional figures) is valued USD 19.64 billion.
The business and visit visa fees for the Indian nationals were decreased and fixed on reciprocal terms.
Saudi Arabia is the 15th largest market in the world for Indian exports and is destination to 1.85 per cent (2017-18) of India’s global exports. On the other hand, Saudi Arabia is the 3rd largest source (4.74 per cent in 2017-18) of India’s global imports. For Saudi Arabia, as per 2017 data, India is the 4th largest market for its exports, accounting for 8.88 per cent of its global exports.
In terms of imports by Saudi Arabia, India ranks 7th and is source of around 4.13 per cent of Saudi Arabia’s total imports. (UNI)