GCC members defer Free-Trade negotiations in progress since 1991 with EU

27-May-10
The six-member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council have put on hold, its free-trade negotiations with the European Union that has been going on for about two decades. Failure to overcome obstacles to an agreement as the European side has unchaged previous position, has caused the postponement. Free-trade negotiations between the 27-nation EU and the GCC, which includes Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil producer, and the United Arab Emirates, have faltered over disagreements on tariffs, petrochemical subsidies and foreign companies holding majority stakes in GCC companies. EU countries have added a clause depriving GCC countries the right to impose duties on EU exports in the future. Almost everything with the EU has been agreed upon, and removal of this clause seems to be the only obstacle. GCC member states have resisted attaching any political conditions, such as improved human rights, to an agreement with the EU.
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