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EU looks for alternatives as trade talks with GCC stall

Accessories, Formal Wear, Tie Wam
EU commissioner for budget and administration Johannes Hahn said there is potential for cooperation with the UAE in areas such as AI research and innovation
  • EU-GCC in deadlock
  • Bilateral UAE agreement possible
  • Potential in AI and innovation

The European Union is actively seeking alternative “avenues” for economic cooperation with the GCC following a deadlock in free trade agreement talks, said Johannes Hahn, the EU commissioner for budget and administration.

“We would be interested, of course, to get an agreement [with the GCC], but we have not made a lot of progress,” Hahn told UAE state-run Wam news agency, without giving details on the alternative options.

While not ruling out a bilateral FTA with the UAE, Hahn said the EU was exploring all opportunities as a “strong, contractual relationship was conducive for both of us”.

The EU already has 70 trade agreements with global partners and is eager to pursue more international pacts, mainly trade agreements.

Hahn said the EU sees potential for cooperation with the UAE in areas such as AI research and innovation, as well as combating disinformation and fake news.

In March 2023, the UAE’s trade minister, Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, said the country’s first bilateral free trade agreements, signed in the past two years, will boost its GDP by nearly 3 percent by the end of the decade.

FTAs – treaties designed to reduce or eliminate barriers to trade and investment between two or more nations – will play a crucial role in helping the UAE to reach its “ultimate” goal of accessing 90 percent of global trade flows, he added. 

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