Gulf states halt FTA talks with EU

27 May 2010

(MENAFN) The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has decided to suspend free-trade negotiations with the European Union (EU), Reuters reported.

GCC Secretary-General Abdul Rahman Al Attiyah said in a speech that the bloc has halted talks which have been going on for about two decades after failing to overcome obstacles to an agreement.

Free-trade negotiations between the 27-nation EU and the GCC, which includes Saudi Arabia, the world?s largest oil producer, and the UAE, have faltered over disagreements on petrochemical subsidies and foreign companies holding majority stakes in GCC companies.

The free-trade agreement has been under negotiation since 1991, according to the European Union. GCC member states have resisted attaching any political conditions, such as improved human rights, to an agreement with the EU.

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