Bilateral deal-making involving governments of West Asia.
Photo: tbz.foto / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
With free trade agreements, come political leverage. Realising this, the United States is moving fast to sign bilateral FTAs with Gulf countries - in the hope that Washington would be able to fill a vacuum because of the slowness of these Arab states in starting any regional trading mechanisms of their own.
Mr. William Lash, U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce, stated to Al-Hayat that "the amount of American investments in the Middle East has reached $90 Billion Dollars". He also revealed that the "American private sector investments in Qatar reached three billion dollars while the rate of trade exchange with Qatar is $800 million dollars."
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.
State Minister Kürşad Tüzmen, on the third day of a visit to Jordan, said that Turkey had presented the draft text of a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Turkey and Jordan to Jordanian Prime Minister Faysal Fayez, reported the Anatolia news agency.
While the media and the public focus on the deadly turmoil in Iraq, business lobbyists have turned their attention to another side of the fragile Middle East region.
The United Arab Emirates and Oman must make new efforts to qualify for proposed free trade pacts with the United States, a US official said on Friday in response to objections raised by labour groups.
The UPI has reported that Yemen and the United States of America are preparing a plan to start a free trade zone between the two countries.
Turkey and Syria signed a free trade agreement on Wednesday and discussed how to keep Iraq united and stable despite the violence sweeping their neighbor.
After spending years negotiating FTAs with the US, Europe and fellow Arab countries, Jordan is determined to gain a competitive advantage for Jordanian industries in world markets. And Washington appears eager to help them achieve success.
The U.S-Jordan FTA is a “first” FTA in two ways. It is the first FTA to be ever concluded with an Arab country. It is also the first FTA to include labor and environment within the text of the FTA itself.