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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 mulls FTAs with Singapore, Australia
GCC finance ministers said the six states were considering foreign trade deals with Singapore and Australia to widen existing talks for bilateral accords with some of its member states.
First round of AGCC free-trade talks with India, Pakistan to begin by mid-November
The first round of free trade negotiations between the Gulf Cooperation Council and India and Pakistan will commence by the middle of November 2005.
Wisdom ultimately prevails on Gulf states’ FTAs with US
The wise decision adopted by the GCC Finance and Economy Ministers to exclude the Free Trade Agreements (FTA) signed or expected to be signed with the United States from the Gulf agreement concerning unified customs tariffs is considered a prudent decision that serves the interest of enhancing Gulf economic co-operation and integration.
Gulf Arab states exclude US from collective trade agreements
Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states have agreed to exclude the United States from collective trade agreements, allowing members to strike bilateral free trade deals with Washington, the Kuwaiti foreign minister said.
Gulf countries, Turkey sign FTA deal
The six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council and Turkey signed an agreement Monday to begin negotiations on a free trade agreement (FTA).
Syria to sign free trade agreement with GCC
Syria will sign a free trade agreement with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries in June, the official al-Thawra newspaper said Friday.
Gulf states discuss economic tie-up, FTA with the US
Finance ministers from six Gulf states met yesterday to discuss economic integration, including a unified currency, and a free trade agreement with the United States, an official said.
Lubna calls on Japan to enter into FTA talks with the GCC
Shaikha Lubna Al Qasimi, UAE Minister of Economy and Planning, yesterday urged Japan to enter into free trade negotiations with the GCC states so as to bolster its trade and investments ties with the region.
Framework agreement between Mercosur and GCC is ready to be signed
The text of the framework of the free trade agreement between the Mercosur and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is ready to be singed, a Brazilian foreign ministry official has disclosed.
Trade pacts not aimed at busting GCC, says US
The US hopes free trade agreements with Bahrain and other neighbours of Saudi Arabia will strengthen the Gulf Co-operation Council — not break it up, a US trade official said.