2006 News Story

GCC and EU closer to free trade agreement

Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) ministers of finance and economy met with European Union Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson in Abu Dhabi today to discuss the establishment of a free trade agreement between the two organizations.

“We were able to narrow differences in areas such as market access and rules of origin,” Mandelson told reporters, adding that he would be “extremely surprised and disappointed” if an agreement was not reached by the end of the year.

“There was substantial discussion about the future agreement related to services. We don’t have identical views but we understand the need to show flexibility,” Mandelson said.