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Indian pharma industry to gain from proposed GCC-India FTA

R Seetharaman, the Group CEO of Doha Bank, said the signing of a free trade agreement will help Indian pharmaceutical and chemical companies to export their products to the lucrative GCC region, comprising Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the UAE

Dubai: The Indian pharmaceuticals and chemicals industry will be among the biggest beneficiaries of a free trade agreement between the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and India, reports PTI quoting a leading banker in the region.

R Seetharaman, the Group CEO of Doha Bank, said Indian pharmaceutical and chemical companies will be able to export their products to the lucrative GCC region, comprising Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Mr Seetharaman was speaking at a session organised as part of the second World Tamil Conference, which was held in Dubai.

“GCC-India trade exceeded $80 billion during the three quarters ending December 2010 and can exceed $100 billion for the year 2010-11. It could exceed $130 billion by 2013-14,” Mr Seetharaman said while moderating a special session, titled, ‘Investment opportunities in India and GCC countries’, at the event.

“There are several potential sectors for investments by Indian entrepreneurs in the GCC, including information technology, telecommunications, education, healthcare services, tourism and the hotel industry, banking and financial services, oil, gas and petrochemicals, electricity, housing, road and rail networks,” he said.

“The GCC investment in India has significantly increased in the last two years and is now estimated at more than $125 billion,” he added.

Union minister of state for personnel, public grievances & pensions and the Prime Minister’s Office V Narayansamy was the special guest on the panel.

The panel members included Andhra Pradesh Department of Industries commissioner R Karikavalan, Tamil Nadu Industrial Guidance and Export Promotion Bureau executive vice-chairman, M Velmurgan, former UNIDO principal advisor to the director general V Jabamalai, Coimbatore-based Bhartiyar University professor and head - department of economics B Muniyandy and Bharatiyar University department of economics professor K Govindrajulu.

During the session, Mr Seetharaman gave his outlook on the Indian economy. He also extended the discussion to the investment trends in India on account of measures announced in the Union Budget, the latest banking regulations and the Indian textiles industry.

Mr Seetharaman also spoke about the recent Budget announcements of Tamil Nadu, the incentives for Foreign Institutional Investors (FIIs) and trends for FIIs in the Indian insurance industry.

He said: “The Tamil Nadu state Budget has a marginal revenue surplus of Rs173.87 crore for 2011-12 and revenue of Rs85,685 crore.”

On insurance companies, he said: “The big positive for the financial market is that FIIs will be allowed to invest in mutual fund schemes. Insurance IPO guidelines for life insurance companies are underway and foreign investors can also consider tapping these investments.”

He said, “Global pension funds are increasing exposure to the Indian IPO and secondary market. Pension funds of some notable entities such as American Airlines, British Petroleum, IBM and Unilever are registered in India.”

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