GCC-EU very close to striking free trade agreement — diplomatic source

Kuwait News Agency, 1 October 2005

GCC-EU very close to striking Free Trade Agreement — Diplomatic source

BRUSSELS, Sept 30 (KUNA) — The Gulf Cooperation Council and the European Union are very close to striking a Free Trade Agreement as coordination on this issue is in its final stages, an informed diplomatic source close to the process told KUNA Friday.

The source said several meetings are due in October and November in both Abu Dhabi and Brussels with the first hosting the meetings of the commercial arbitration committee as of October 18th. It is later to host the meetings of the services and investments committee from October 19 to the 22nd.

The last of Abu Dhabi meetings is to gather the two concerned deliberating delegations from October 25th till the 27th. There are to be complementary meetings in Brussels November 23rd-27th.

Meanwhile, according to the same source, the GCC team is aiming at inclusion of an item on lift of tax on petroleum products and aluminum to improve the trade balance, as these goods are of key importance to the Gulf states.

The two parties are hoping to strike a deal before this yearend and meetings of several concerned committees had been held in Riyadh in July. A new round of meetings is also due in the holy month of Ramadhan to stress the desire to meet such deadline.

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source: KUNA