Keeping its promise to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani during his visit in February, the Indian Government has started examining the feasibility of a preferential trade agreement (PTA) with the Country.
“India’s focus is on market access for products such as pharmaceuticals, man-made fibre, rice and automotive parts,” a Government official said recently.
Iran has been keen on a PTA with India for long, but New Delhi had not been pursuing it with vigour as it was already engaged in a number of bilaterals with other Countries.
“Things have changed now and India is keen on a PTA as it realises that the Iranian market could be promising. A number of new opportunities opened for the Indian businesses in Iran when the Country was hit by economic sanctions from Western economies, including the US and the EU,” the official said.
The Federation of Indian Export Organisations, had sent a list of items to the Commerce Ministry, where it feels there is scope for increased exports. “We are positive that a PTA with Iran will benefit Indian exporters a lot. The foothold that we gained in the Iranian market while the economic sanctions against Iran was in place and there was less competition will help us expand our exports if a PTA is signed,” FIEO Director General Ajay Sahai said.
Iran’s exports to India in 2017-18 were worth $11.11 billion, a growth of 5.76 per cent over the previous year. India’s exports to Iran grew 11 per cent to $2.65 billion during the fiscal.
The trade imbalance is mainly because of India’s import of oil from Iran.