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Thursday, 27 May 2010

GCC Members Suspend Free-Trade Talks With Europe (Update1) -

The six-member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council suspended free-trade negotiations with the European Union that have been going on for about two decades after failing to overcome obstacles to an agreement.

“In view of the fact that there was no progress as the European side held its previous position, the council countries have suspended the negotiations,” GCC Secretary-General Abdul Rahman al-Attiyah said in a speech posted on the Gulf bloc’s website today. It didn’t provide further information.

Free-trade negotiations between the 27-nation EU and the GCC, which includes Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil producer, and the United Arab Emirates, have faltered over disagreements on tariffs, petrochemical subsidies and foreign companies holding majority stakes in GCC companies. Attiyah’s statement dated May 25 was made as German Chancellor Angela Merkel tours the Persian Gulf.