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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 is fast becoming a regional trading bloc due to recent FTA talks
The six-nation GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) is fast becoming a regional trading bloc as more countries now want to forge free trade agreements (FTA) with it following its trade negotiations with China and India.
New Thai trade talks ’needed’
A proposed Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Bahrain and Thailand has stalled because of the intervention of other GCC countries, officials confirmed yesterday.
GCC FTAs: Dead ends or new beginnings?
What do the Gulf Cooperation Council countries want from FTAs?
GCC and Singapore to start talks on FTA
The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and Singapore have agreed to start negotiations for a free trade agreement.
GCC countries ’rush into US free trade agreements’
The Dubai police chief said on Saturday that GCC countries that have signed bilateral free trade agreements with the United States "rushed into them".
Mercosur-GCC agreement to include all bilateral trade
Apart from the products whose imports are prohibited, negotiations between both blocs should cover 100% of the current tax universe. This is one of the conclusions of the meeting that took place this week between diplomats from both blocs.
FTAs ring alarm bells to Bahrain, Oman
The Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Bahrain and the US has been operational since August 1, and on September 19, the US Congress approved the FTA with Oman, which will come into effect soon. The media coverage of the two deals in the region have been limited to official announcements without pointing out the serious dangers these FTAs pose to the GCC customs union.
Dubai Chamber says Jordan is a potential market for UAE
The Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) said that Jordan is a potential market for the UAE, and the UAE could win a good chunk of Saudi Arabia’s trade with Jordan.
Partial trade deal on the table with China
The GCC and China seem more determined than ever to pursue the goal of attaining a free trade agreement (FTA) in the not-too-distant future.
GCC-China agreement on services to take time
China is optimistic of concluding the first part of a free trade agreement (FTA) with the six-nation GCC block by the end of this year, but the second part may take more time, officials said yesterday.