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India-Saudi Arabia Bilateral Relations

 India-Saudi Arabia Economic & Commercial Brief

Introduction: India and Saudi Arabia enjoy multifaceted relations reflecting the centuries old economic and socio-cultural ties. India and Saudi Arabia are old business partners; their trade relations go back several centuries in time. Today, the bilateral business ties are being steadily expanded and further strengthened by continuous interaction and cooperation, including regular exchange of business delegations. Besides being a major trade partner, India sees the Kingdom as a major pillar for its energy security and an important economic partner for investments, joint ventures, transfer of technology projects.
Trade: Saudi Arabia today is our 4th largest trade partner (after China, USA and UAE) and is a major source of energy as we import around 20% of our crude oil requirement. The value of India Saudi Arabia bilateral trade during 2015-16 decreased to USD 26.71 billion, a 31.98% fall from USD 39.27 billion last year, as per figures provided by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade. The decline may be attributed mainly to low petroleum and commodity prices and lower global demand. During this period, our imports from Saudi Arabia reached USD 20.31 billion, registering a decline of 22.42% over previous year (USD 28.11 billion) whereas our exports to Saudi Arabia reached USD 6.40 billion registering a decline of 8.61% over previous year (USD 11.16 billion).
Saudi Arabia is the 8th largest market in the world for Indian exports and is destination to more than 2.46% of India’s global exports. On the other hand, Saudi Arabia is the source of 5.38% of India’s global imports. For Saudi Arabia, as per 2014 data, India is the 5th largest market for its exports, accounting for 8.87% of its global exports. In terms of imports by Saudi Arabia, India ranks 7th and is source of around 3.60% of Saudi Arabia’s total imports.
India-Saudi bilateral trade (in million US$)

Year ( April - March) Imports from Saudi Arabia Exports to Saudi Arabia Total trade % increase in bilateral trade % increase in Indian imports % increase in Indian exports
2010-2011 20,385.28 4,684.40 25,069.68 19.35 19.23 19.90
2011-2012 31,817.70 5,683.29 37,500.99 45.59 56.08 21.32
2012-2013 33,998.11 9,785.78 43,783.89 16.75 6.85 72.18
2013-2014 36,403.65 12,218.96 48,622.61 11.05 7.08 24.86
2014-2015 28,107.56 11,161.43 39,268.99 -19.24  -22.79 -8.65
2015-2016 20,314.81 6,395.76 26,710.57 -31.98 -27.72 -42.70


    Source: Department of Commerce, GOI. (www.dgft.gov.in )
Main Indian exports and imports
            Major Indian exports to Saudi Arabia include mineral fuels, mineral oils and products thereof, agricultural products, electric machines and equipment, iron and steel, organic chemicals, spacecraft parts, articles of apparel and clothing accessories etc. India’s major imports include mineral fuels, mineral oils and its products, organic and inorganic chemicals, plastic and its products, fertilizers etc.
Indians in KSA:Over 3.05 million Indian expatriates are working in Saudi Arabia. They are working in the entire spectrum of Saudi economy- from high-end scientific and research jobs to construction sector and contribute immensely to the Saudi economy. They play a vital role in strengthening the India-Saudi bilateral relations.
Major Indian Companies in KSA:Major Indian companies operating in KSA include Larsen & Toubro (L&T); Tata Consultancy Service(TCS); Telecommunication Consultancy India Ltd.(TCIL); Tata Motors; WIPRO; Dayim Punj Llyod; Shapoorji Pallonji; Infosys; Air India; Godrej & Boyce; Jet Airways; State Bank of India; AFCONS; Kalptaru Power Transmission; Engineering Projects of India Limited (EPIL) etc.
Indian Investment and Joint Ventures in KSA:According to Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA), 426 licenses have been issued to Indian companies for joint ventures/100% owned entities, which are expected to bring total investment of US$ 1.6 billion in Saudi Arabia. These licenses are for projects in diverse sectors such as management and consultancy services, construction, telecommunications, Information Technology, etc.
Saudi investment in India:According Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP) FDI statistics, Saudi Arabia is the 50th biggest investor in Indian with investments from April 2000 to February 2015 amounting to US$ 53.37 million. Saudi Arabia’s direct investment in India is much below its true potential. 
Recent Visits and Events (2014 - 15 - 16):
The then Finance Minister Mr. P. Chidambaram led a high level official delegation to Riyadh from January 27-28, 2014 to co-chair the 10th India-Saudi Joint Commission Meeting (JCM).
33 Indian companies under Plastic Export Promotion Council (Plexconcil) participated in the ‘Saudi Plastics & Petrochem and Print & Pack’ (Saudi PPPP 2014) International Exhibition held from 17-20 February, 2014 in Riyadh. The Embassy organized a B2B interaction between visiting Indian delegation and Saudi businessmen.
Shri Sam Pitroda, Adviser to the Prime Minister of India visited Saudi Arabia to participate in the Conference entitled "Knowledge based Economy and its Role in National Development" held in Riyadh from April 24-25, 2014.
A 25 member delegation participated in the Saudi Energy Show 2014 under EEPC banner from May 26-28, 2014. The Mission, under the aegis of SIBN organized a B2B interactive session at the Embassy on 27.05.2014.
52 Indian companies under India Trade Promotion Organization (ITPO), Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) and Tea Board of India participated in the Saudi Agro Food Exhibition from September 7-10, 2014. The Mission organized an event focusing on “Agro & Food Processing Industries” in India and a B2B interactive session on September 8, 2014 at the Embassy premises.

Coinciding with the launch of “Make in India” Campaign by the Prime Minster Mr. Narendra Modi in New Delhi, the Embassy of India, Riyadh under the aegis of Saudi India Business Network (SIBN), organized an event at the Embassy premises on 25th September, 2014. Ambassador in his opening remarks highlighted the major initiatives of the Government to make India an investment and manufacturing destination. H.E. Kamel S. Al Munajjed the Saudi co-chair of Saudi Indian Business Council also spoke at the event and underlined the fast changing business environment in India. The event was attended by around 100 Saudi and Indian investors and businessmen. A brochure on “Make in India” and “India – An Investment Destination” was published by this Mission and distributed among the participants.
H.E. Mr. Dharmendra Pradhan, MOS (IC) for P&NG, accompanied by a high level delegation, including Chairmen of IOL, GAIL & HPCL, visited Saudi Arabia from October 27-29, 2014 to co-chair the 2nd Round of India-Saudi Arabia Energy Consultations held in Riyadh. The Minister also had meetings with the Chairman and CEO of Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC) and the President of King Abdulla City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (K.A.CARE) during the visit. The delegation also visited Saudi Arabian Oil Company (Saudi Aramco) in Dhahran and had an interactive session with Saudi businessmen at Asharqia Chambers of Commerce, Dammam.
Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) organized a Road Show at Hotel Marriot, Riyadh on 04.01.2015.
H.E. Mr. Tawfiq Al-Rabiah, Minister of Commerce and Industry, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia inaugurated the 4th GCC-India Industrial Forum at King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC), Jeddah.  The Indian official delegation was led by Ms. Ravneet Kaur, JS, DIPP.
A large number of Indian companies participated in Saudi Plastic & Petrochem, Saudi Print & Pack (Saudi PPPP) Exhibition held at Jeddah from 1-3 March, 2015.
Two Indian companies participated in Saudi Health Exhibition and Conference held at Riyadh in May, 2015.

Embassy of India, Riyadh, in association with Asharqia Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Dammam, organized a multi-product Indian catalogue exhibition at the premises of the Chamber on May 13, 2015.
Seven Indian companies participated in the Saudi Agro Food, Saudi Food Pack International Exhibition held in Riyadh from 11-14 October, 2015.
Four Indian companies participated in the ‘Saudi Build International Exhibition’ held in Riyadh from 26-29 October, 2015.
This Mission, in association with Al Ahsa Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Hofuf, Al Ahsa organized a multi-product Indian catalogue exhibition at the premises of the Chamber on October 28, 2015.
Over 50 Indian companies from Agro- food sector under ITPO and APEDA participated in the Foodex International Exhibition held at Jeddah from November 17-20, 2015.
Central Cottage Industries Corporation India Ltd. participated in the Jeddah International Trade Fair held in Jeddah from December 22-25, 2015.
An 8 member official Indian delegation led by Mr. V.K. Jindal, Advisor, DEA, MoF visited Riyadh to for the 11th JCM Review Meeting held in Riyadh on 29th December, 2015.
About 50 major Indian companies from plastic and allied industries, under ‘Plastics Export Promotion Council’ (PLEXCONCIL), participated in the Saudi Plastics & Petrochem/ Print Pack (SAUDI PPPP) exhibition held at Riyadh from 18-21 January 2016. Coinciding with the event, this Mission in association with Riyadh Chamber of Commerce & Industry organized a B2B interactive meeting of Indian companies with Saudi businessmen at the premises of the Chamber on 19.01.2016 which was attended by a large number of Saudi businessmen.
Nine Indian companies under Automotive Component Manufacturers Association of India (ACMA) participated in the Automechanika" Jeddah Show 2016 from 26-28 January 2016.
A Joint delegation comprising of representatives from Indian Oil PSUs (IOCL, BPCL, HPCL & MRPL) visited Saudi Aramco headquarters at Dhahran on February 04, 2016 for negotiations on better commercial and supply terms for oil requirements.
Over 70 Indian companies under Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) participated in “The Big 5 Saudi” International Building and Construction Show held in Jeddah from 7-10 March, 2016.

The India Saudi Arabia bilateral relation received a major fillip with the visit of Hon’ble Prime Minister to the Kingdom from April 2-3, 2016. During the visit the Hon’ble PM, in addition to his meetings with top Saudi leadership, had an interactive business event at the Council of Saudi Chambers in Riyadh which was attended by top Saudi businessmen and investors along with many Indian business honchos.
Within a fortnight of the highly successful visit of the Hon’ble Prime Minister, Shri Dharmendra Pradhan, MOS (IC), P&NG, led a high level delegation of senior government officials and Chairman/CMD of Indian oil and gas PSUs to Saudi Arabia on 14.04.2016 and held several high level meetings to follow up on the deliberations during the PM Visit.
Proposed upcoming Indian delegations and Commercial events:
12th India Saudi Arabia Joint Commission Meeting (JCM) is proposed to be held in Riyadh. The JCM is co-chaired by the Finance Minister from Indian side and the Minister of Commerce & Industry from Saudi side.
3rd Round of India-Saudi Arabia Energy Consultations at the level of oil ministers is scheduled to be held in New Delhi.
The resumption of negotiations on India GCC Free Trade Agreement (FTA) is under consideration.
The Mission proposes to organize Multi-sector Products Catalogue Exhibitions in major cities of Saudi Arabia during the year 2016-17 with emphasis on “Make in India” initiatives.
India is planning to participate in and set up a pavilion at Saudi Agro Food Fair in October/November 2015 at Riyadh International Convention & Exhibition Centre (RICEC).
The Embassy plans to organise, under the aegis of Saudi India Business Network (SIBN), B2B events coinciding with the visit of Indian companies to participate in various Trade Shows in Riyadh.
The next meeting of India Saudi Arabia Business Council is due in Riyadh. The last SIBC meeting was held in New Delhi in December 2016.
Saudi Business delegations to India:
A 6 member technical team from Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) visited India to inspect Indian meat processing plants from January 27 – February 4, 2014.
A 4 member delegation led by H.E. Dr. Khalid Bin Mohammed Al Fuhaid, Deputy Minister of Agriculture visited India to participate in the Asia-Africa Agribusiness Forum held from February 4-6, 2014, in New Delhi.
H.E. Dr. Tawfiq Fawzan Al Rabiah, Minister of Commerce and Industry, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia led high profile delegation to participate in the 4th India-Arab Partnership Conference held in New Delhi on November 26-27, 2014. Over 100 delegates from 16 Arab countries including government officials, business leaders and investors participated in the Conference.
Dr. Abdullah Al Obaid, Deputy Minister for Foreign Trade, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia led a high level delegation from Saudi Arabia to the 10th JCM review meeting held in New Delhi on January 14, 2015.
Saudi Commerce & Industries Minister H.E. Dr. Tawfiq Al-Rabiah visited India to co-chair the 11th India Saudi Arabia Joint Commission Meeting which was held in New Delhi from May 27-28, 2015.  The JCM was co-chaired by Shri Arun Jaitley, Minister of Finance from the Indian side. The JCM focused on further strengthening economic, trade and investment ties and stressed on the need for friendship and cooperation between the two countries. The Indian side highlighted the investment opportunities under Prime Minister’s 'Make in India' initiative and welcomed investment from Saudi Arabia under this initiative.
A seven member Saudi delegation led by H.E. Mr. Naif Al Otaibi, Deputy Minister for Petroleum Affairs, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia visited India from October 15-16, 2015 and met Commerce Secretary and DGAD officials in connection with anti-dumping investigations against Saudi exports to India.
Two officials from Ministry of Agriculture, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia participated as delegates in the 5th Global Economic Summit on ‘Enabling Food for All’ held at World Trade Centre (STC), Mumbai from November 19 -21, 2015.
Saudi Export Development Authority (SEDA) delegation led by Saudi Deputy Minister for Industrial Affairs visited India from 7-11 December, 2015 to explore opportunities to promote non-oil Saudi exports to India.
A 40 member strong delegation of top Saudi businessmen visited India for participating in the Saudi India Business Council meeting organized by FICCI from December 13-18, 2015 in New Delhi and Bengaluru.
Subsequent to a visit of a technical team from Ministry of Agriculture, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for inspection of testing laboratories, pack houses and green chili production areas in India in October 2015, Saudi Arabia lifted the temporary ban on import of green chili from India with effect from January 2016.
A technical delegation from Gulf Standardization Organization (GSO) visited India in April 2016, to inspect Harley Davidson and Royal Enfield motorcycle manufacturing facilities regarding homologation requirements for export of two wheelers to GCC countries. In its two visits to India in 2015, the GSO delegation visited Honda, Bajaj, Suzuki facilities and met delegations from Department of Commerce and the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) in Pune and New Delhi.
A Saudi business delegation attended the International Exhibition for Phama and Healthcare (IPEX-2016) held in Mumbai from 27-29 April, 2016. An official from Saudi Food & Drug Authority visited Cipla Ltd. in Pune and Goa, to conduct GMP inspection from 30.05.2016 to 03.06.2016.
A four member delegation from Saudi Food & Drug Authority (SFDA) visited India in end May 2016 to audit, analyse and inspect procedures for export of food products through Agriculture and Processed Food Export Development Authority (APEDA).