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Sun 24 Jun 2012 06:02 PM

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EU chief says Gulf trade deal 'close'

EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht confident on proposed free trade agreement

EU chief says Gulf trade deal 'close'

Decade-old talks to seal a free trade agreement (FTA) between the European Union and the GCC could be close to a successful conclusion, according to EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht.

De Gucht said in an interview with Oxford Business Group (OBG) that the treatment of export duties was now the only outstanding trade issue in the negotiations.

"I believe we could be in a position to close a deal soon with clear political willingness on both sides," he said.

De Gucht also highlighted the need for structural reform in the economies of the Middle East, saying that weaknesses, such as inefficient labour markets, low trade integration and high food and energy prices, had been contributing factors in the uprisings across the region.

"The unrest in the region did not result solely from dissatisfaction with the entrenched political establishments and a lack of democracy," he said in the interview.

"People need to be equipped with education and training for the right jobs."

He said he was confident that moves to introduce policies aimed at promoting inclusive growth, increasing the role of the private sector and fighting unemployment, together with ongoing efforts aimed at fostering international and regional trade integration, would pave the way for economic expansion in the GCC.

"The region needs diversification for economic development and growth," he added. "Trade, together with the right accompanying policies, will be key factors for the Gulf region's success."

Sole 7 years ago

European countries are ready to sacrifice and mislead their investors in return for political favors , it is well know that the Gulf countries lack lots of basic rules that protect investors and investment such as insolvency laws, proper human rights, civil rights , bounced cheques and other draconian laws that the European investors will face and suffer from its consequences as and when their business will come across any difficulties . it is obvious that their leaders are ready to sell any thing during the financial difficulties including their sole and principals .