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UAE-US free trade to be signed before year-end

Khaleej Times

UAE-US free trade to be signed before year-end

By Jamila Qadir

18 April 2006

DUBAI - The US free trade agreement with the UAE might take unspecified time to sign, but the US hopes to ink the deal before the end of this year, although nothing is clear as yet, according to a senior official from the US Embassy in Dubai.

Patrick Wall, Commercial Attaché, US Commercial Service in Dubai, told Khaleej Times yesterday that some of the FTAs the US had planned to sign with countries around the world take more than three years.

"I have just come back from Panama, where our negotiations have been going for the last three years and nothing is finalised as yet," he said.

He also said despite the fact that the US has already signed the FTA with Bahrain, the agreement is not yet implemented because the latter has to make some changes to its property law. The FTA with Oman, the negotiations for which started at the same time as the UAE talks, has also been signed, though not implemented as yet.

Wall declined to comment on whether the collapse of the deal by DP World to manage US port terminals has affected the talks, but hoped that the deal would be inked before the end of this year, although he was not very optimistic.
The FTA talks between UAE and US resumed this month. Both sides have been working on the FTA since March last year, but negotiations slowed down following a controversy over the DPW takeover of the P&O operations in the US. Although UAE officials have been insisting that the DPW fiasco would not have any impact on FTA talks, analysts say the conciliatory stand taken by UAE on the issue by withdrawing from the takeover bid has strengthened UAE’s position at the negotiations.