GCC 'very close' to EU free trade deal

27/05/2010 - Dubai Investment News
GCC 'very close' to EU free trade deal

Posted by Neil King

The long-awaited Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the European Union (EU) is now very close to being concluded, the German chancellor Angela Merkel said yesterday (May 26th).

Ms Merkel was in Doha for talks with the Qatari government and later took questions about the GCC-EU FTA at a joint news conference, Emirates Business 24/7 reported.

"We are centimetres away from inking the coveted deal," she said, adding that once concluded, the FTA "will benefit both sides".

Ms Merkel also looked to quell concerns about the euro in light of the Greek debt crisis.

She said that the European common currency's stability is important to Germany as a major exporting country "so we will actively back the euro".

The chancellor is currently on a tour of the GCC and is leading a huge delegation of German business interests who are keen to invest in the region.

Meanwhile, it was also revealed this week that Al Sayegh Brothers, a diversified business conglomerate, has announced plans to expand its operations in the UAE by opening 15 new retail outlets in the country by 2012.