Emirates Business 24/7 | Tueday, November 25, 2008
GCC and Europe FTA in few weeks
By Abdul Hai Mohamad
The Free Trade Agreement between European Union and GCC states will be signed within few weeks, Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy, has said.
Italian State Minister for Foreign Trade Adolpho Urso said the EU-GCC FTA will be signed at the end of 2008 or the beginning of 2009 on the maximum.
Al Mansouri said the UAE encourages the signing of FTA as soon as possible as it will provide the UAE economy with big benefits. There are strong UAE industries which are able to compete European markets, like aluminum and petrochemicals.
"The FTA which is due to be applied soon will be very useful also for the European side, which will take advantage of developed infrastructure in the region for storage and re-exporting outside the Gulf."
Al Mansouri said on the sidelines of the third meeting of joint UAE-Italian Business Committee.
Al Mansouri said the first-of-its-kind authority for the development and guaranteeing of UAE exports to international markets will be set up with the help of Italian experience in that regard. The authority will increase UAE exports with providing effective banking guarantees for these exports.
In a related development, Oman will be assuming the revolving GCC presidency today, said an official.
"The key reason why we are having meetings with foreign ministers and finance ministers tomorrow is because the revolving presidency of Qatar ends tomorrow and Oman will take the Presidency then," said Abdulkarim Hamadi, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs at the GCC Secretariat, said. Oman was meant to hold the post last year but because of mass flooding caused by a cyclone, it was transferred to Qatar. (With agencies)