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Turkey and GCC to create $2.4trn free trade area

GCC secretary-general Jasem Mohamed Albudaiwi and Turkish trade minister Omer Bolat signed the pact to proceed with FTA talks Omer Bolat/X
GCC secretary-general Jasem Mohamed Albudaiwi and Turkish trade minister Omer Bolat signed the pact to proceed with FTA talks

Turkey and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) will begin negotiations on a free trade agreement (FTA), to create one of the world’s largest free trade areas worth $2.4 trillion.

GCC secretary general Jasem Mohamed Albudaiwi and Turkish trade minister Omer Bolat signed a pact to proceed with the talks.

The GCC comprises the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait and Oman.

“The agreement will liberalise trade in goods and services, facilitate investments and trade, and increase our country’s trade with the region and investments in our country from the Gulf region to much higher levels,” Bolat said on the messaging app X.

Bolat said the FTA negotiations will be completed as soon as possible.

In a separate statement, Albudaiwi said initiating the FTA talks demonstrates the robust and strategic partnership between the GCC countries and Turkey.

The move shows successful cooperation between the GCC and Turkey across various fields, including commerce, economics, and finance, he said.

The GCC countries are actively negotiating free trade deals with other nations to open up trade opportunities, promote economic cooperation regionally and globally and create strong markets for goods and services provided by the GCC countries, Albudaiwi added.

In December last year South Korea and the GCC signed a free trade agreement. Negotiations between the bloc and India and China are also underway.

Talks between the GCC and the UK for a FTA, which have been ongoing since 2022, are about to enter a seventh round, while discussions with the European Union have been taking place since 1990.

Countries in the GCC have also pursued separate trade deals. The UAE, for example, has signed agreements with a host of countries including India, Turkey, Indonesia, Kenya and Cambodia.

Last week, Turkey and the UK launched fresh trade talks targeting the services sector as part of any new deal.

The two countries plan to enhance their current trade deal, which was negotiated in the 1990s and has remained despite the UK leaving the European Union in 2020.

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