The Gulf Cooperation Council (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, with Yemen hoping to join by 2016) is dealing head-on with bilateral free trade agreements at various levels. On the one hand, it has gone through a lot of tension as its member countries have been drawn into individual bilateral treaties with foreign powers like the United States, including with a major row between Saudi Arabia and Bahrain when Bahrain signed with Washington. On the other hand, it has been working as a group to establish FTAs with others, including Australia, China, Mercosur, Japan, Jordan, Korea, Turkey, New Zealand, India, Iran, ASEAN and the European Union. It signed an FTA with Syria in 2005, and more recently with Singapore (2008) and EFTA (2009).
last update: May 2012
The talks between GCC countries and China to reach a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) have gained momentum. Once implemented, the agreement will further boost cooperation and the volume of trade between the two sides.
It has been 240 years since Scottish economist Adam Smith made the then-outrageous suggestion that nations could improve their wealth by removing tariffs on imported goods. At the time, 1776, not only did these taxes — invariably more than 40 percent on certain goods — inflate prices for consumers, they often accounted for the majority of government revenues.
Leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council will be meeting with President Barack Obama this week at the White House and at Camp David. The six member nations of the GCC include Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and Oman.
MoU with South Korea can be leveraged into something significant, including a free trade agreement
Australia is keen to resume its negotiations with Gulf countries on a free trade agreement, or FTA, in addition to foreign investment in a number of sectors, Trade and Investment Minister Andrew Robb said in Dubai on Sunday.
The Gulf Cooperation Council is increasingly looking eastward to secure trade accords, which in itself reflects the difficulties in concluding free trade agreements with the likes of the European Union.
Senior officials from the GCC countries and China met in Beijing on Thursday and discussed the resumption of negotiations to establish a free trade zone, a senior diplomat said.
Trade between the GCC and Singapore has declined by a fifth this year, but a newly ratified free trade agreement is shoring up officials’ optimism.
Trade in the first half of this year declined to US$30.2 billion from $38bn last year, partly due to lower Saudi oil shipments, said Singapore’s trade ministry.
The proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the US and Europe will impact the GCC region’s aviation, energy and financial services’ sectors, a report has shown.
The Gulf Cooperation Council countries and India are expected to conclude a free trade agreement for boosting trade within a year, K K M Kutty, former chairman of Confederation of Indian Industry, has said.