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European-Gulf FTA talks falter anew

Kuwait News Agency | 1 March 2007

European-Gulf FTA talks falter anew

BRUSSELS, Feb 28 (KUNA) — European-Gulf negotiations on a joint free trade agreement have faltered anew due to fresh European economic preconditions for the signing, an Omani representative said here Wednesday.

Abdul-Malik Al-Tehani, head of the Omani delegation taking part in the European-Gulf FTA talks, told Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) that the EU had asked the Gulf side to liberate economic sectors in some Gulf nations, a thing which could impede the signing of the FTA between both sides during a ministerial meeting to be held in Riyadh in May.

The Omani official, who declined to reveal the names of those countries which were involved in the fresh EU preconditions, said the EU demands came at a time when those countries were not ready for meeting them.

However, other outstanding issues between the EU and Gulf sides have been completely tided over, he said.

Meanwhile, a Gulf-EU meeting at the ministerial level, which was scheduled to be held in April, was put on the back burner until May due to the Gulf side’s failure to be technically ready for the gathering, he said.

The EU and Gulf sides have been negotiating a free trade zone since 1990.

 source: KUNA