Gulf Times | Tuesday, 8 May, 2007
GCC to seek further talks before EU free-trade deal
DUBAI: The GCC states want further talks with the European Union before agreeing to a landmark trade deal with the economic block, an official said yesterday.
“GCC-EU free-trade agreement won’t be ready to be signed during the ministerial meeting this week in Riyadh,” Hamad al-Bazai, Saudi deputy minister of finance, said.
The Gulf states are not ready to conclude their long-standing negotiations, said al-Bazai, who will attend the Riyadh round of talks.
“Ministers will review the progress of negotiations and I expect them to assure their political support,” he said.
Europe and the GCC have tried to finalise for the last 17 years a free-trade agreement that would boost commerce between both regions.
The wording of the agreement remains undecided along with issues concerning service industries and investment rules, al-Bazai said.
The two sides have already agreed on rules of origin for 10 industries, including petrochemicals and plastic exports to the European market, he said. - Dow Jones Newswires