Arab News | 5 October 2023
Pakistan seeks early implementation of free trade agreement with Gulf Cooperation Council
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan called for early implementation of a free trade agreement (FTA) with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) on Thursday, pointing out that its activation would lead to mutual economic growth and prosperity in the foreseeable future.
The two sides thrashed out technical issues while examining the possibility of entering the agreement in negotiations held last year.
More recently, an official statement circulated in Islamabad announced the signing of a “preliminary” free trade agreement on Friday after the country’s interim finance minister, Dr. Gohar Ejaz, met the GCC secretary-general, Jassem Mohamed Albudaiwi, in Riyadh.
The statement described it as a “milestone” development, adding that the preliminary deal would go through GCC’s internal administrative and approval process before the agreement’s finalization.
“Pakistan-GCC FTA is the first such agreement concluded by GCC with any country since 2009,” the foreign office spokesperson, Mumtaz Zahra Baloch, said during her weekly media briefing. “We look forward to the early signing, ratification, and implementation of the Agreement, which we believe will contribute to growth and mutual prosperity and mark a new chapter in economic relations between Pakistan and GCC.”
The GCC is an important six-country trade bloc which includes Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, and Kuwait.
Pakistani officials have described the preliminary deal as a major “turning point” in the history of economic and trade cooperation between the two sides that will serve their common interests.
Pakistani business community has also maintained the implementation of the agreement would help the country meet its export targets while increasing investment from the GCC region.