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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
photo: US Department of State/Wikimedia Commons

Proposed US-EU trade deal may impact business in GCC: report
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.
GCC, India seen to sign FTA within a year
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.
Kingdom, UAE dominate Turkish-GCC trade
Turkish trade with the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council), in spite of considerable positive progress in recent years, is lagging far behind its potential. Negotiations for a free trade agreement between Turkey and the GCC were launched in November 2005 but are still ongoing and are expected to conclude soon. The delays appear to have been linked above all to the global economic crisis with the talks suspended for a while in 2008-2009, according to a report "Turkey and the GCC: A strengthening Relationship" issued by the National Commercial Bank (NCB).
Trade among Gulf Arab states expected to surge by 14 percent: officials
Trade among Gulf Arab oil producing countries is expected to grow around 14 percent in 2011 recovering from a contraction two years ago at the height of the global financial downturn, two officials said on Sunday.
Cabinet approves GCC-EFTA trade pact
The Council of Ministers Monday approved the Free Trade Agreement between GCC member states and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) signed in Hamar in Norway on June 26, 2009.
First GCC-Asean business forum set
Aiming to explore further trade and investment opportunities in many areas, the Sultanate will host the first GCC-Asean Business Forum in February next year.
GCC-Asean FTA discussed
Officials at the GCC and Asean countries stressed the importance of enhancing co-operation in the fields of trade and investment and exploring the possibility of negotiation regarding the Free Trade Agreement between the two groups.
Crisis pushed GCC to slow down Turkey FTA talks
The global economic crisis of 2009 was a major reason behind Turkey’s stalled Free Trade Agreement (FTA) talks with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which began in 2005, Foreign Trade Undersecretariat officials have said.
Turkey should lobby Saudi Arabia for GCC ties
I followed the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit held in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) capital, last week and had a chance to see firsthand how the leaders of oil-rich Gulf Arab countries conducted the meeting against the backdrop of the challenges facing the Middle East.
GCC countries postpone customs union move
The Gulf Cooperation Council, a political and economic union involving the six Arab states, has decided to shelve its proposed customs union by at least two years after the modalities for the distribution of revenues and the mechanism of collection were not finalised.