MENAFN | 9 December 2020
GCC ministers discuss increasing free trade agreements with other countries
(MENAFN - Emirates News Agency (WAM)) ABU DHABI, 9th December, 2020 (WAM) — Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, chaired a meeting of the Gulf Cooperation Council, GCC, ministers of trade on free trade agreements between the GCC and other countries and trade blocs, as part of the UAE’s presidency of the Council’s current term. The meeting was also attended by Dr. Nayef Falah M. Al Hajraf, Secretary-General of the GCC.
The meeting discussed the efforts made to support the position of the GCC states in multilateral negotiations and trade consultations and help them achieve their objectives.
Addressing the meeting, Dr. Al Zeyoudi highlighted the need to reinforce coordination between the GCC states and create more openness in international trade, as well as to ensure the adoption of economic diversification plans through free trade agreements.
"Such agreements have become a key form for economic integration, in light of their role in removing customs and non-customs restrictions on goods and services, leading to increased trade, maximising economic growth, and promoting economic cooperation," he added.
He highlighted the keenness of the UAE Government on leveraging plans aimed at accelerating free trade agreements between the GCC states and other countries of the world.
"The GCC States have stressed their commitment to supporting strategies and plans aimed at diversifying their sources of national income and achieving their economic development goals, by increasing their non-oil exports, ensuring the growth and competitiveness of their foreign trade, and promoting their trade and investment interests in global markets," he further added.
"In light of the unconventional conditions and challenges resulting from the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic on global trade, cooperation between GCC states in protecting their exports to foreign markets has become increasingly important, as well as protecting national products by exploring new trade destinations and improving competitiveness. We believe that we can achieve this through joint action and signing more free trade agreements with countries and economic blocs of strategic importance," he explained.
Al Zeyoudi urged the GCC states to intensify their efforts and develop efficient strategies and mechanisms to serve their overall economic strategies.