Fri, 20 May 2022

RIYADH, Jan. 19 (Xinhua) -- The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the Republic of Korea (ROK) announced on Wednesday that they will resume negotiations on the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) after a hiatus that lasted more than 10 years.

The decision was made during a meeting held on the sidelines of ROK President Moon Jae-in's visit to Riyadh, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The agreement would open up greater commercial and industrial cooperation between GCC states and the ROK, Nayef bin Falah Al-Hajraf, secretary-general of the GCC consisting of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, was quoted as saying.

According to a joint statement issued after the meeting, which was attended by Al-Hajraf and ROK Trade, Industry, and Energy Minister Moon Sungwook, both sides will strive to reach a final agreement within six months of the first round of negotiations.

It is also stated that the FTA will be ambitious and comprehensive, and that it will lead to increased economic growth and job creation by boosting trade in goods and services, as well as other areas that will benefit both parties.

The meeting reviewed the need for GCC states to reduce reliance on oil earnings and increase non-oil revenues, and to focus on renewable and clean energy, among other areas that would help improve economic and commercial cooperation between the GCC and ROK.

Al-Hajraf emphasized the necessity of investing in promising sectors to develop high-quality commercial and industrial cooperation that benefits both parties.

After more than a decade of suspension, ROK stated in September 2021 its intention to resume FTA negotiations with the GCC. The talks began in 2007 and ended in 2009.

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