Friday, December 8, 2023

Pakistan, GCC Sign First Free Trade Agreement in Nearly 15 Years

The official signing of a “preliminary” free trade agreement (FTA) between Pakistan and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) marks a significant milestone in their economic cooperation efforts. The agreement was signed by Jassem Mohamed Albudaiwi, the Secretary General of the GCC, and Dr. Gohar Ejaz, Pakistan’s Minister of Commerce, at the GCC headquarters in Riyadh.

Over the past year, both parties engaged in technical-level discussions to explore the possibility of this FTA. The agreement is poised to have a substantial impact on Pakistan’s exports to GCC member countries, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, and Kuwait. Diplomatic efforts were pivotal in finalizing the FTA, with senior Pakistani diplomats engaging in discussions with GCC officials in Riyadh. Pakistan’s Foreign Minister also advocated for the “early conclusion” of the FTA during a recent meeting with the GCC Secretary General.

What sets this FTA apart is that it is the first agreement of its kind between the GCC and any country since 2009, highlighting its significance as a landmark achievement in economic cooperation. This development has the potential to foster closer economic ties, open new avenues for trade, and strengthen diplomatic relations between Pakistan and the GCC member nations, ultimately benefiting both sides economically and politically. It paves the way for enhanced trade opportunities and increased economic integration in the Gulf region, promising a brighter future for the economies involved.

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