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Atiyya: FTA agreements with the US will not hinder GCC march

posted on 06/06/2005: 677 views

The Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Abdul Rahman bin Hamad Al Atiyya, has said that the next GCC summit in Abu Dhabi would boost the GCC march and joint economic work, particularly in the area of ensuring the implementation of the customs union and expediting steps towards the implementation of a Gulf Common Market.

In an exclusive interview with the Abu Dhabi-based monthly "Economy Today", magazine, affiliated to the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Atiyya said the six member states would hopefully reach agreement which would resolve the negative aspects of the individual signing of bilateral free trade agreement with foreign countries by any of the GCC member states. Atiyya commended the UAE for creating a special ministry that takes care of GCC affairs.

He said the move would contribute immensely in boosting the GCC march. Atiyya said most of the GCC member states were in various stages of bilateral negotiations with the United States in their efforts to reach free trade agreement, adding that differences in views are common in every economic bloc. "But there are mechanisms for resolving these differences to the satisfaction of all parties in a way that would boost integration drive," he said.

He pointed out that it is widely hoped that the GCC leaders, during their 26th summit in Abu Dhabi, would make decisions to set up railway lines to link all the six member states. "It is also expected that the leaders would approve a number of laws, including the law that organizes the use of and transacting in seeds, the marine life and water resources protection law and the conventional water sources protection law.

Atiyya refuted the allegation that there are differences between the GCC and the European Union, EU, on the criteria for the combating of terror finance and the mechanism for the implementation of those criteria. "There is rather a complete agreement on that," he said, adding that negotiations on the partnership agreement between the GCC and the EU will be fully completed this year.

He pointed out that the economies of GCC member states had witnessed in recent time positive developments in the area of privatisation and the opening up of the services sector for the private sector.

Atiyya reiterated that the GCC Secretariat was working to enhance cooperation with the Federation of GCC Chambers of Commerce and Industry. He said this is being done through his outfit's support in activating the role of the private sector in economic activities. (The Emirates News Agency, WAM)


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