EU free trade secondary to Asia pacts: Al Mansouri

Bloomberg | May 26, 2009

EU free trade secondary to Asia pacts: Al Mansouri

Dubai: The six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is concentrating on trade talks with East Asia after negotiations with the European Union stalled, Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy, said.

Trade with the European Union is "kind of secondary for us now", Al Mansouri told reporters in Dubai on Tuesday.

"Currently we are approaching our partners in East Asia, including China and other economic blocs."

A final agreement in the talks with the European Union, which started 20 years ago, hinges on the EU’s acceptance of "certain conditions" put forth by the Gulf countries, Al Mansouri said, without giving details.

The GCC countries will reject any political conditions attached to the accord, the Gulf bloc’s Secretary General Abdul Rahman Al Attiyah said last June.

"There are very few outstanding issues that remain to be resolved," Lutz Gullner, a spokesman for European Trade Commissioner Catherine Ashton, said in an e-mail.

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source: Gulf News