GCC and EU free trade talks stall
by Rob Corder on Tuesday, 20 February 2007
Negotiations between European Union and GCC officials at ministerial level have been delayed until May, an EU source announced yesterday.
Peter Mandelson, the EU Trade Commissioner, was expected in the Gulf this week to hammer out the final terms of a Free Trade Agreement between the two economic blocs.
If successful, these talks were supposed to have paved the way for the meeting of ministers in Brussels in April at which the FTA could be formally ratified.
The delay of that meeting signals that objections remain that will require extra time to overcome.
The two sides were supposed to be speaking this month at an EU-GCC experts meeting. That meeting has been delayed until next month.
Following news of the delayed talks, a GCC source, that asked not to be identified, told the Kuwait News Agency that there were differences between the two sides over legal aspects of the FTA, but the two sides were making efforts to overcome the outstanding problems.