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UAE prepares for 2nd round of US FTA talks

Khaleej Times

UAE prepares for 2nd round of US FTA talks

By Staff Reporter

3 May 2005

ABU DHABI - Progress towards a free trade agreement between the UAE and the US stepped up yesterday when the country’s negotiating committee met to review its position and preparations for the second round of talks, scheduled to take place in Washington DC from May 10 to 12.

Chaired by Shaikha Lubna Al Qasimi, Minister of Economy and Planning, the UAE’s FTA Negotiation Council held its fifth meeting at the Ministry of Finance and Industry (MoFI) which was attended by its members included Sultan bin Naser Al Suweidi, the Governor of the UAE Central Bank.

Later, an MoFI spokesman said that the council reviewed the outcome of the first round of talks that were held in March, besides reviewing the summaries of negotiations that took place with country’s public and private sectors.

The meeting discussed preparations for the second round of negotiations made by the negotiating teams, which comprise members from the public and private sectors. The Council wanted to be clear about the expectations of team leaders and the position on specific issues raised in the first round of talks that will need to be followed up in the upcoming round.

The spokesman said that the council has issued a resolution to coordinate the activities among all negotiating teams particularly with the private sector, as government consider it a key partner in these talks. The Council has constantly kept the private sector updated with the latest results of negotiations in order to reach a national agenda that satisfies the expectations of all sectors.

After the successful completion of the first round, UAE’s negotiators have arrived at a clear vision of the issues that need to be resolved to ensure progress towards a Free Trade Agreement that will serve the interests of both countries.

The FTA with the US would enable the UAE economy to continue growing at its current rate and emerge as the largest Arab economy.

The agreement would grant the UAE access to the largest consumer market in the world as well as having a positive impact on its production and exports. During the visit to the US, the FTA negotiating team will meet leading congressmen and private sector business leaders.