The new customs union and proposed EU-GCC free trade agreement will both appreciably expand trade and improve economic welfare in the GCC countries, with little significant economic impact on the EU.
The stage is being developed for a fast-track free trade agreement (FTA) between the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council and 25-member European Union. Possibly, the EU has felt the urge to sign an FTA with the GCC now that the US has moved to reach bilateral agreements with individual GCC states.
The GCC is on its way to securing a world first in terms of international economic and trade agrements. Talks with the European Union over the world’s first region-to-region Free Trade Area agreement will be completed by the end of the year, it was declared yesterday.
Progress in the Free Trade Area (FTA) negotiations will top the agenda of the annual GCC-EU foreign ministers meeting being held today in Bahrain, which currently chairs the GCC.
The long-standing row over European duty on aluminium imports from the Gulf, a major irritant in EU-AGCC trade relations, is likely to be resolved this year with both sides gearing up for the final round of talks to seal a free trade agreement.
An agreement on the protection and promotion of investments between Bahrain and Germany is due to be signed "very soon". Germany is also pushing for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the European Union and the GCC.
After several years of being blocked, the signing of the EU-GCC FTA seems imminent. At the same time, the US is launching an ambitious proposal for a US-Middle East Free Trade Area in 2013, with Bahrain being the last country to adhere to a list that already includes Morocco and Jordan.
The US hopes free trade agreements with Bahrain and other neighbours of Saudi Arabia will strengthen the Gulf Co-operation Council — not break it up, a US trade official said.
As a Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) citizen, it is extremely disappointing to note that the controversy surrounding Saudi Arabia’s objections to the Bahrain-US free trade agreement (FTA) is threatening the future of the GCC economic integration.
Saudi Finance Minister Dr. Ibrahim Al-Assaf said the Kingdom will be forced to take measures, including legal action, to protect its interests from being harmed by unilateral free trade agreements concluded by Gulf Cooperation Council states with other countries.
Saudi Arabia threatened yesterday to impose customs duties on foreign goods imported duty-free through Gulf Arab countries, intensifying a Saudi-Bahraini row over a trade agreement with the United States.
The US-Bahrain deal undermines the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) as a collective body.
TALKS are pushing ahead for individual free trade agreements with the US for all the GCC states, it was declared yesterday.
Bahrain once again defended its free trade agreement with the United States.
The Saudi-Bahraini dispute over Manama’s free trade pact with Washington that overshadowed a summit of Gulf Arab states could derail their bid for economic integration, economists said yesterday.
A free trade deal between the United States and the tiny Persian Gulf Kingdom of Bahrain is causing friction with other Arab states, which say the pact could weaken their economic bloc ahead of future trade talks with Washington.
Gulf Arab states angered by Bahrain’s decision to sign up to a free trade pact with the United States say it should back away from the deal and honour a regional agreement.
The government of India has kickstarted the process for clinching a free trade agreement with the Gulf Cooperation Council, with which New Delhi had entered into a framework agreement for economic cooperation in August.
The GCC states are seeking, both individually and collectively, to rapidly develop their foreign trade and economic relations.
Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Dr Sheikh Mohammed Sabah Al-Salem Al-Sabah, Pakistani Foreign Minister Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) General Secretary Abdul Rahman bin Hamad Al-Attiyah, will sign a framework economic agreement between Pakistan and the GCC states tomorrow (Thursday).