Khaleej Times, Dubai
New round of UAE, US FTA talks productive
21 May 2005
WASHINGTON - The United States said on Thursday that it is pleased with the progress made in this week’s trade negotiations with the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Catherine Novelli, assistant US trade representative, told reporters that the two countries engaged in a “very, very productive second round of negotiations”.
“We really made a great deal of progress,” Novelli said. But she pointed out that at least another round of negotiations would be needed and probably more.
Novelli said the next round is scheduled for the end of June or early July, adding that it would be a “virtual” one, meaning that negotiators would communicate via a video conference.
Completing a trade agreement with UAE is “very important” with regard to President George W. Bush’s plan of creating a Middle East free trade area. UAE is the third largest US trading partner in the region, following only Saudi Arabia and Israel.
The US already has free trade agreements with Jordan, Morocco, Bahrain and Israel, and promised Egypt on Wednesday it will pursue trade liberalisation hand in hand with Cairo’s steps toward democratic elections.