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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

GCC to do away with border curbs on goods
The latest push to eliminate obstacles could help the Gulf Cooperation Council Customs Union ease transportation of goods and services across the region from next year.
GCC close to meeting monetary union plan
At the end of 2009, all GCC countries, with the exception of UAE and Oman which disengaged from the plan, were within the fiscal convergence criteria needed for the regional monetary union, the Washington-based Institute of International Finance (IIF) said.
Business council supports Jordan’s aspirations for free trade with GCC
The Saudi Jordanian Businessmen Council supported Jordan’s request for a free trade agreement with Gulf states, according to the council’s Chairman Mohammad Al Audah.
GCC Chief Says FTA Talks With South Korea Making Significant Progress
The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and South Korea have taken big strides toward concluding free trade negotiations, although there are some remaining issues to be resolved, Yonhap News Agency reported the council’s visiting secretary general as saying Monday.
Malaysia can become a gateway for Emirati investors, Deputy Governor Bank Negara Malaysia
Dato’ Mohd Razif Deputy Governor of Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) said that Malaysia has ample investment opportunities in various fields and can become a gateway for Emirati investors to access Asian Markets, expressing his resolve to open joint ventures between Malaysia and United Arab Emirates to enhance economic and trade ties between them.
GCC, ASEAN eye new trade bloc based on food, oil
Gulf Arab states and the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) moved toward building a trade bloc based on food and oil at a joint meeting of foreign ministers on Tuesday.
GCC states advised to sign free trade pact with China
Urgent talks should be held to help reach a free trade agreement (FTA) between Gulf Cooperation Council member states and China, said a new GCC study.
GCC to sign EFTA trade deal
GCC Secretary-General Abdulrahman bin Hamad Al Attiyah has announced that the Gulf Cooperation Council will sign a joint free trade agreement with the EFTA states, Switzerland Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein later this month. Both parties agreed the text of the agreement on April 24, 2008 and have now signalled they wish the agreement to enter into force.
GCC may have more FTAs in near future
The GCC-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (FTA) signed last week comes almost a year after the six gulf nations announced a common market to remove trade barriers within themselves and to deal with the world as one entity. Economists predict that the agreement will serve as a precursor to more FTAs between Gulf and prominent Asian economies.
First GCC trade accord signed with Singapore
The six Gulf oil producers on Monday signed a free trade agreement (FTA) with Singapore, the first-ever FTA for the GCC