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UAE advises Indonesia to sign FTA with GCC

Antara, Indonesia

UAE advises Indonesia to sign FTA with GCC

9 April 2009

Abu Dhabi (ANTARA News) - The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has proposed to Indonesia to enter into a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Indonesian Ambassador to the UAE M Wahid Supriyadi said.

"Singapore already has an FTA with the six-nation GCC and Malaysia is in the process of establishing the link with GCC," Supriyadi told Indonensian journalists in Abu Dhabi on Thursday.

He said the UAE had made the proposal through its foreign trade minister, Sheikh Lubna Al Qarini, at a meeting with Indonesian Trade Minister Mari E Pangestu in Dubai early this week.

The UAE had made the same proposal to ASEAN member countries when their finance ministers, including Indonesia`s Sri Mulyani, held a roadshow in the Middle East recently, he said.

The GCC groups six Gulf countries, namely UAE, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain. The six countries have a combined population of 40 million.

"Since the onset of the global financial crisis, Gulf countries have become interested in doing business with and investing capital in Asia. Indonesia should use this opportunity," said Supriyadi who has been in UAE post for 11 months.

Speaking about the prospects of widening the market of Inonesian goods in the Middle East in general, the envoy said an "Indonesian Festival" was held in the UAE and other Middle Eastern countries in cooperation with Lulu Hypermarket, the largest hypermarket chain in the UAE which also had 74 branches in the Middle Eastern region.

Supriyadi said the GCC had also concluded an FTA with India and was negotiating another FTA with Europe.

He said during her one-day visit to Dubai earlier this week, Indonesian Trade Minister Mari E Pangestu met with her Somalian counterpart, Abdi Rashid Mohamed Abdi, to discuss efforts to step up trade relations between their two countries.