Pakistan, Gulf countries sign preliminary free trade agreement

Islamabad, Sep 30 (IANS) Pakistan and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have signed a free trade agreement (FTA) following the conclusion of the final round of negotiations between the two sides in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, local media reported.Pakistan Caretaker Commerce Minister Gohar Ejaz and GCC Secretary General Jasem Mohamed Albudaiwi inked the joint statement for the Pakistan-GCC FTA.

“Both parties looked forward to the expeditious signing, ratification, and implementation of the agreement, which will mark a new chapter in the economic relations between our parties,” a joint statement issued by both parties stated, Geo News reported.

The final round was held from September 26-28 at the GCC Headquarters in the Saudi capital.

This is a significant development as the FTA is the first by GCC with any country since 2009 and marks a milestone in both sides’ economic cooperation, Geo News reported.

On the occasion, Ejaz said that Pakistan has excellent relations with all the countries of the GCC and this FTA will ensure that the country’s economic ties are commensurate with these relations.

This will now be followed by an internal administrative and approval process before signing and entry into force of the agreement.



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