The Peninsula | 16 May 2016
Free trade agreement talks between GCC & China gain momentum
DOHA: 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.
“The GCC countries and China are currently negotiating a free trade agreement between both parties. There has been a number of negotiation rounds so far, during which a number of topics was discussed. Both parties have achieved good results in those rounds and are exerting efforts to complete the discussion of all topics and issues related to the agreement,” said Abdul Raheem Hassan Naqi, Secretary General of the Federation of GCC Chambers yesterday at a press conference held at the Qatar Chamber headquarters to announce the second edition of ‘Made in China Exhibition’.
He said that total value of the GCC exports to China was $101bn in 2014, equal to 11.7 percent of the total value of the GCC exports to the whole world for the same year. The total value of the GCC exports to China witnessed an increase in the period 2010-2014 with an annual growth average of 17.8 percent.
A free trade will benefit China and GCC countries, said Naqi. “There are vast horizons for the Chinese economy to benefit from this free trade agreement. Chinese economy has been growing since 1978 at a rate of 6-13 percent annually. This big growth needs more consumers to the raw materials and strategic commodities in order to keep balance and momentum. China is in need of external markets to export its products and investments in order to expand its financial and economic presence, and to utilise its economic leap. Therefore, the countries of the GCC can provide to main components for the Chinese economic strategy; I mean oil and trade markets,” he added.
“As for the GCC, we will also benefit from the free trade agreement as China will. China may deliver limitless technical and industrial support to the GCC countries which have big capitals that are able to change their economies into industrial economies, provided that some issues have to be solved in this regard,” he said.
Total of GCC imports from China in 2014 was around $56bn against 47bn in 2013, showing increase of 18.4 percent. The major imports of the GCC from China in 2014 were machinery, electric and electronic devices, domestic and household machines, metal industries, steel, furniture and electric lightings.
Major commodities exported from the GCC to China in 2014 were fuel products & derivatives, organic chemical products, industrial plastics, and aluminum industries.