EU and Gulf countries seek free trade zone by year end
The European Union and members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) hope to establish terms for a free trade zone by the end of the year, dpa reported.
I hope that we can sign still in this year", said the chairman of the GCC ministers Ahmad Bin Abdullah Al-Mahmoud, Qatar's minister of state for foreign affairs Monday after a meeting with representatives of the EU in Brussels. We are very close to an agreement."
The minister said final agreement hinges on some remaining technical questions for the council comprised of Gulf states Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which signed a unified economic agreement between the countries in 1981.
The EU and the Gulf council have been negotiating for a free trade zone since 2002.
Neither Al-Mahmoud nor Slovenian foreign minister Dimitrij Rupel, the president of the current session of the EU elaborated on remaining questions to the pending agreement.