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The Gulf Cooperation Council (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, with Yemen hoping to join by 2016) is dealing head-on with bilateral free trade agreements at various levels. On the one hand, it has gone through a lot of tension as its member countries have been drawn into individual bilateral treaties with foreign powers like the United States, including with a major row between Saudi Arabia and Bahrain when Bahrain signed with Washington. On the other hand, it has been working as a group to establish FTAs with others, including Australia, China, Mercosur, Japan, Jordan, Korea, Turkey, New Zealand, India, Iran, ASEAN and the European Union. It signed an FTA with Syria in 2005, and more recently with Singapore (2008) and EFTA (2009).

last update: May 2012
photo: US Department of State/Wikimedia Commons

GCC inks free trade deal with South Korea
The GCC deepens economic ties with major Asian partners, signing its second FTA this year, highlighting commitment to investment and economic diversification.
’GCC-China FTA soon; plans afoot to upgrade pact with Singapore’
The Gulf Co-operation Council will soon enter into free trade agreement with China and the region is in advanced stage of negotiations with South Korea; while it seeks to upgrade agreement with Singapore.
’Good progress’ made in free trade talks between GCC and UK
UK government confirms that fifth round of talks aimed at creating a free trade agreement with the GCC successfully concluded in Riyadh.
Turkiye and GCC states aim to propel ties to new heights
The Gulf Cooperation Council Secretary-General emphasized the resumption of talks between Turkiye and the GCC states regarding a free trade agreement.
Saudi Arabia intends to sign more free trade agreements – report
Trade talks will be negotiated through the six-nation GCC bloc, says economy minister.
GCC-China discuss free trade agreement
Jasem Mohamed al Budaiwi, Secretary-General of GCC, stressed that the free trade agreement between the GCC countries and China, which is currently being negotiated, will undoubtedly be one of the important factors in strengthening GCC-China relations in all fields, especially economic and investments.
As China seeks to supercharge energy deals in Middle East, Qatar eyes benefits of a free-trade agreement
Six Middle Eastern countries, comprising the Gulf Cooperation Council, have been seeking a free-trade deal with China for nearly 20 years.
Saudi commerce minister chairs preparation meeting for GCC-UK trade talks
The fourth round will be held in two sessions; remote as well as in-person meetings in London.
Pakistan and GCC finalise strategic dialogue to boost trade ties
Pakistan’s Foreign Minister and GCC Secretary-General reviewed the latest developments and progress on the free trade agreement
Pakistan says expects free-trade talks with Gulf countries by June
The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has reached out to Pakistani authorities to resume negotiations on a free trade agreement (FTA) by June this year, a top Pakistani diplomat in Riyadh said.