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28/12/2023 12:14

GCC, South Korea sign free trade agreement

On Thursday in Seoul, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and South Korea finalized a free trade agreement (FTA), as announced in a statement by the GCC. Jasem al-Budaiwi, the Secretary General of the GCC, emphasized the historic nature of this agreement, considering it a significant stride toward Gulf economic integration and the enhancement of economic and trade ties with South Korea. The FTA aims to advance global trade and investment connections, aligning with the Gulf states' strategy to broaden revenue streams and diversify economic sectors beyond reliance on oil and gas.

The comprehensive FTA with South Korea encompasses various aspects, including trade in goods and services, government procurement, cooperation among small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), customs procedures, intellectual property, among other areas. The GCC Secretariat, having appointed a lead trade negotiator in 2022, has actively engaged in new rounds of FTA negotiations with key partners in the past year, such as China and post-Brexit Britain.

Earlier this year, the GCC also sealed a free trade agreement with Pakistan, underscoring the region's commitment to fostering economic collaboration on an international scale.