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Singapore, Gulf Cooperation Council agree on free trade pact

DPA | Thu, 31 Jan 2008

Singapore, Gulf Cooperation Council agree on free trade pact - Summary

Singapore — The Singapore government said Thursday it has substantively concluded negotiations with the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) for a free trade agreement (FTA). The final round of talks, held from January 28 through Thursday, was the last of four that started in January 2007.

The GCC includes Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait.

Officials on both sides will begin legal scrutiny of the agreement, "which is expected to conclude shortly," a joint statement said.

The GCC-Singapore free trade agreement (GSFTA) covers such areas as "trade in goods, trade in services including financial, e- commerce, government procurement, customs and cooperation."

It is the first FTA concluded by the GCC outside the Middle East and the second that the city-state signs with Middle Eastern economies.

It "will strengthen trade and investment linkages, and foster closer economic ties between Singapore and the GCC," the statement said.

Under the pact, goods from Singapore and the GCC will gain duty- free access into each other’s markets.

Service providers from both sides will also benefit from enhanced access to each other’s markets, in areas such as architecture, engineering, air transport services and retail sales of fuel services.

 source: Earth Times