The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) will sign next week framework economic cooperation agreements with India and Pakistan. GCC Secretary-General Abdulrahman Al-Attiyah announced in Riyadh today that he will visit these two countries from August 24 to 27 to sign the agreements, which, he said, will pave the way for launching negotiations to establish two free trade areas.
Last February, the GCC signed an agreement with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), a non-government, industry-led organization. Founded 108 years ago, CII now has a membership of over 50,000 companies, and has taken upon itself to follow up on the GCC-India Industrial Conference held in Bombay earlier this year.
In the field of banking, Indian banks have evinced keen interest in the Kingdom, and the State Bank of India (SBI) applied for a branch license in July 2003; this application is under consideration by the Saudi government.