India, Saudi Arabia discuss starting rupee-riyal trade

NEW DELHI: India and Saudi Arabia discussed the possibility of starting a commercial rupee-riyal as part of efforts to boost economic ties between the countries, the government said in a statement on Monday.
India, Asia’s third-largest economy, has established a mechanism to settle international trade transactions in Indian rupees with an emphasis on exports to promote global trade and satisfy trade linkages. There is growing interest in using the rupee for commercial purposes.
“Discussed ways to attract greater investment and further diversify bilateral trade to boost economic ties between India and Saudi Arabia,” Commerce Secretary Piyush Goyal wrote on Twitter after meeting with his Saudi counterpart Majid bin Abdullah Al-Kassabi.

During his two-day visit to Saudi Arabia to participate in the India-Saudi Arabia Strategic Partnership Council meeting, Goyal also met with the Saudi energy minister. Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman Al Saud.
In addition to exploring the possibility of a rupee-riyal trade mechanism, the countries also discussed trade diversification and expansion, removal of trade barriers, fast-track licensing and marketing of Indian pharmaceutical products in Saudi Arabia, the statement said.
India’s balance of trade with Saudi Arabia is tilted in favor of the UK, an important oil supplier to the world’s third-largest crude oil importer and consumer.
During April-July, the first four months of this financial year to March 31, 2023, India’s imports from Saudi Arabia increased by 93% to $15.5 billion while exports increased by approx. 22% to $3.5 billion, according to Commerce Department data.
Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, during his visit to India in February 2019, announced an investment of $100 billion in India.
The two countries affirmed their continued cooperation in joint ventures including oil refinery on the west coast, investment in liquefied natural gas infrastructure and development of strategic reserves in India. India’s statement said.
Aramco is working with Abut Dhabi National Oil Co and Indian refiners in a joint venture set up to build a 1.2 million bpd refinery on the west coast of India. .

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