GCC Secretary General: Free Trade Agreement with Republic of Korea, a Historic Step for Gulf-Korean Economic Integration

GCC Secretary General: Free Trade Agreement with Republic of Korea, a Historic Step for Gulf-Korean Economic Integration

Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Jasem Mohamed Albudaiwi has stated that the signing of a free trade agreement between the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the Republic of Korea is a historic step towards achieving Gulf economic integration and enhancing economic and trade relations between the two sides, according to a press release from the GCC General Secretariat.

This came today during the signing by Albudaiwi and Minister of Trade of the Republic of Korea Ahn Dukgeung of the joint statement concluding the negotiations and reaching the Free Trade Agreement between the GCC and the Republic of Korea, in Seoul.

Moreover, Albudaiwi stated that free trade agreements are implemented following the directives of the leaders of the GCC, towards enhancing the economic relations of the GCC with other countries and international blocs and achieving joint trade and investment interests.

Albudaiwi also mentioned that the signing comes as a result of negotiations that lasted for five negotiating rounds, reflecting the genuine mutual desire to enhance the strategic partnership and economic cooperation between the two sides.

He further added that this agreement is expected to contribute to increasing bilateral trade volume and enhancing trade in goods and services between the two parties, as well as promoting economic diversification plans in the Council member countries and the Republic of Korea.

He emphasized that the agreement included 18 chapters, covering trade in goods, services, government procurement, digital trade, cooperation in the field of small and medium-sized enterprises, customs procedures, intellectual property and other chapters and topics of mutual interest.

The release stated that "this agreement is the second agreement concluded by the GCC with its trading partners in the world during this year 2023, following the announcement of the signing of a similar agreement with the Islamic Republic of Pakistan in September of last year."

He emphasized that the recent signing of free trade agreements with Pakistan and the Republic of Korea within a three-month period highlights the GCC countries' strong economic standing, adding that the GCC countries have become sought-after destinations for countries worldwide, seeking to engage in various agreements and partnerships, especially in the economic field.

Albudaiwi expressed gratitude to the chief negotiators and the entire negotiating and technical teams of both sides for their dedicated efforts in reaching the agreement signed today.

He concluded, "We look forward to the continuation of these excellent efforts to achieve further achievements in joint Gulf work."