Khaleej Times Online | 2 December 2007
EU, GCC fail to end free trade obstacles
DOHA — The Gulf Cooperation Council and 25-member European Union failed on Sunday to overcome obstacles to a free trade agreement that has eluded them for nearly 20 years, the Qatari finance minister said.
Yussef Hussein Kamal told reporters of the failure after a meeting between GCC negotiators and European Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson on the sidelines of a ministerial meeting in the Qatari capital.
The ministers had gathered to prepare for the two-day annual meeting of the heads of state of the oil-rich GCC-grouping Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates-opening on Monday.
‘We discussed with Mr Mandelson the free trade accord ... but certain points have still to be reformulated to meet the demands of the two sides,’ Kamal said, without giving details.
The conclusion of an agreement, which has been under negotiation since 1988, is periodically announced as being imminent but continues to remain elusive.