GCC Federation of Chambers says FTA agreement with China should be concluded soon

AL KHOBAR, Saudi Arabia, 31st January 2016 (WAM) — The Federation of Chambers of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) today said speeding up talks between the six-member bloc and China to create a free trade zone is important, especially in light of global economic developments and the plunge of global oil prices to as low as US$27 a barrel.

During a visit to Saudi Arabia by Chinese President Xi Jinping earlier this month, China and the Gulf Cooperation Council resumed frozen negotiations on their free trade agreement and announced that they will conclude the pact later this year. They said the next round of negotiations will be held in the second half of February 2016.

In a statement, the GGC federation of chambers said China is a global economic power that influences the whole world including the economies of the United States and members of the European Union.

Secretary-General of the Federation of Chambers of the Gulf Cooperation Council, Abdul Rahim Naqi, said reaching a free trade agreement, which has been under negotiation for more than a decade, would usher in mega economic projects, attract Chinese technology and investments into the GCC sectors including oil, finance and commerce.

China’s economy is growing at an average annual rate of 6-13 per cent, and to sustain this pace it will need huge amounts of raw materials and strategic commodities, Al Naqi noted.