By Andy Sambidge
Agreement to be inked next week, Singapore was region's sixth largest trading partner in 2007.
The GCC countries and Singapore are expected to sign a free trade agreement (FTA) in Qatar in the next few days, it was reported on Friday.
It will be the first FTA inked by the GCC outside the Middle East and the second that SIngapore has signed with Middle Eastern economies, sources told Qatar daily Gulf Times.
The FTA is due to be signed during next week’s visit to Doha by Singapore’s prime minister Lee Hsein Loong.
Singapore’s deputy head of mission in Doha, Ken Siah said the deal would be a “milestone agreement” in strengthening ties between the GCC countries and Singapore. The GCC was Singapore’s sixth largest trading partner in 2007, with bilateral trade reaching a record high of S$42.4 billion ($28.5 billion) in 2007. Total exports including domestic exports and re-exports to the GCC were worth an estimated S$7.5 billion, while the GCC exported S$34.8 billion worth of goods to Singapore.
This is an increase of 127 percent since 2002. Singapore’s cumulative investments in the GCC totalled S$357 million in 2006.