South Korea eying resumption of new FTA with GCC

South Korea eying resumption of new FTA with GCC

Seoul (UNA-OIC) – South Korea aims to resume talks for a new free trade agreement (FTA) with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) after a hiatus of more than 10 years, Yonhap News Agency reported on Monday.

Trade Minister Yeo Han-koo plans to meet his United Arab Emirates (UAE) counterpart Thani Al-Zeyoudi virtually later in the day and propose resuming talks for the South Korea-GCC FTA, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

South Korea and the GCC agreed to launch negotiations for the FTA in 2007, but related talks have been stalled since 2009. The GCC has six members under its wing, namely Kuwait, the UAE, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Qatar.

“A multilateral FTA plays a crucial role in establishing sustainable economic ties and coping with changes in the global supply chain amid the COVID-19 pandemic,” Yeo said in a statement.

During the meeting, the two countries also plan to discuss a wide array of bilateral issues to forge deeper ties in the energy sector, the statement said.

“South Korea and the UAE have been holding close ties in traditional energy sectors, including the petroleum and nuclear industries. Based on such cooperation, the two countries need to expand their partnership to emerging industries, including sustainable energy,” Yeo was quoted as saying.

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