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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, great news for the gulf, hopefully an agreement can be reached, enjoy:

Brussels, Belgium, Apr. 1 (UPI) -- The European Commission announced Friday that European foreign ministers will meet with Middle Eastern leaders to discuss a free trade agreement.

Benita Ferrero-Waldner, European Union external relations commissioner, and Peter Mandelson, EU trade commissioner, will serve as representatives at the two-day meeting in Bahrain next week.

"This is an important meeting for us," said Ferrero-Waldner. "The EU is committed to strengthening relations with the region, and I believe that both sides are now ready to open up new areas for cooperation. We need to identify specific initiatives in the political, economic and social fields and I am looking forward to making some concrete proposals to my GCC colleagues."

Ferrero-Waldner and Mandelson will meet with leaders from the Gulf Cooperation Council, which include Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. It is expected that both parties are aiming to conclude negotiations over the EU-GCC free trade agreement and expand political and economic initiatives.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
GCC-EU to discuss trade deal
RIYADH: Upcoming talks between the GCC and the European Union (EU) will mark a major step on the road to concluding a long-stalled free trade agreement, the GCC's chief said yesterday.

The April 4 to 5 meeting in Bahrain of foreign ministers of the two sides "will constitute a turning point in GCC-EU negotiations for a free trade pact between the two blocs," Secretary-General Abdulrahman Al Attiyah said in a statement.

A statement issued by the European Commission in Brussels on Friday ahead of the annual meeting said ministers were expected to "agree on the way forward for EU-GCC Free Trade Area negotiations with the aim of concluding them at the earliest opportunity."

"The Commission will be represented at the (meeting) by Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy Benita Ferrero-Waldner and Commissioner for Trade Peter Mandelson," the statement said.

The two blocs signed a framework economic co-operation agreement in 1988 but have failed to strike a free trade pact.

The GCC states met one of the EU requirements when they launched a customs union in January 2003.

The GCC is currently the EU's fifth largest export market, according to EU data.

EU exports to the GCC were around $46 billion in 2002, while imports amounted to around $23bn.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
smussuw said:
GCC countries have wait more than 20 years to have an agreement. Maybe another 20 years?
You're very wrong:

PROGRESS in the Free Trade Area (FTA) negotiations will top the agenda of the annual GCC-EU foreign ministers meeting being held today in Bahrain, which currently chairs the GCC.

Regional issues of joint interest such as developments in Iraq, EU negotiations with Iran, prospects for Middle East peace and Saudi Arabia's accession to the World Trade Organisation will also be reviewed at the one-day event.

The GCC delegation attending the meeting, at the Ritz-Carlton Bahrain Hotel and Spa, will be headed by Deputy Premier and Foreign Minister Shaikh Mohammed bin Mubarak Al Khalifa.

Also present will be GCC Secretary-General Abdulrahman Al Attiyah, Gulf ministers and other officials.

The EU's delegation will be headed by Jean Affelborn, Foreign Minister of Luxembourg, which is currently presiding the EU.

It also comprises Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy Benita Ferrero-Waldner and Commissioner for Trade Peter Mandelson.

In a report released by the Bahrain News Agency yesterday, speeding up the signing of the FTA agreement will top the agenda.

It said both the GCC and the EU expect to sign the agreement during this year.

"Once the FTA is signed, there will be a number of benefits for the GCC by implementing the provisions of the agreements," it said.

The agreement would be instrumental in increasing economic co-operation and creating new job opportunities.

In 1989, the EC and the GCC signed a co-operation agreement under which the foreign ministers meet once a year at a joint ministerial meeting.

The objective of this agreement is to develop trade relations, as well as to contribute to strengthening stability in this strategic part of the world.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
GCC-EU talks 'offer vast opportunity'

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Shaikh Mohammed bin Mubarak Al Khalifa yesterday met Luxembourg Deputy Premier, Foreign Minister and current EU President Jean Asselborn, who is heading the EU side to the GCC-EU ministerial meeting today.

Shaikh Mohammed affirmed the importance of this meeting in providing an opportunity to review the scope of economic and trade co-operation between the two groups, as well as paving the way for signing the Free Trade Agreement this year.
 

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I think the GCC are looking at this agreement purely from an economic perspective. This is the right thing to do. However the EU seems to think the GCC are still third world countries. They are trying to use this agreement, which is an economic one, as a political pressure point. The EU believes it can dangle this agreement, like a mouse to a cat, for the GCC. Once the GCC installs or takes steps towards more democratic institutions then it will hand.. acctually then it will dangle the mouse, i mean the agreement, a bit more to further push the GCC countries to take political moves, both foreign and internal. Yes we will benefit from a FTA with the EU just as they would from us, but I refuse to allow the Europeans to use this as a pressure point against us. Best example is what the EU has Turkey doing. I believe if they want the EU can make Turkey jump through hoops on fire just for the chance to join the EU.

EU should get the message real clear next time they come to the neigbourhood, the political structures of each individual gulf country is very different then the other.. some are more democratic than others, and others dont even seem to be moving towards democractic institutions. So they might as well quit.. as we say in arabic.. il bab yoos3 jameel...
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Well, I think the Gulf countries since they're way ahead of all the other Arab countries won't face as much pressure as the sham countries, but am sure the EU will propose and recommend some new reforms, which will only benefit the GCC. The EU certainly knows how to sell ideas more than as you put it before "E7m E7m yours truly".
 

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What does the fact that "the political structures of each individual gulf country is very different then the other" have to do with anything? So what if they're different? Does that mean the EU shouldn't push for reforms, whether economic of political..?

And the sad thing is that in many ways the GCC countries still remain as third world countries..
 

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Bahraini your wrong! go on the net search for a map which divides the third world countries,etc. the gulf countries arent in the third world, thought Saudi arabia and oman are... Be sure to get a specific one not the idiotic north south world :D.Who stil think South africa is a third world thought now its classified as 1st world. try goverment maps or something i remember the canadian goverment reckognizing the UAE, Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain as first world.

thought the third world , 1st world thing is stupid! It doesnt really show what is what. fo example mexico is like a hell on earth. in general the people are poor. or China which is gonna be if not now the #1 technological country is still classe thirdworld! thought its more advanced than mexico 100000 times. thats the thing. Thirdworld may apply to countries such as congo, yemen,etc. NOT UAE, kuwait, etc. most Emaratis are very educated! Many of them are rich. and so on. All Canadians who visited kuwait and the UAE were amazed! They found things that werent in Canada, The CIBC back president (one of the biggest banks in canada) lives now in the UAE, he finds it better and more advanced than canada. that is true because canada has a ban on many new advanced systems because well... babyboomers.... u know... Thats why i find third world, 1st world thing dumb.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Anas Anani said:
Bahraini your wrong! go on the net search for a map which divides the third world countries,etc. the gulf countries arent in the third world, thought Saudi arabia and oman are... Be sure to get a specific one not the idiotic north south world :D.Who stil think South africa is a third world thought now its classified as 1st world. try goverment maps or something i remember the canadian goverment reckognizing the UAE, Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain as first world.

Dude show us proof, cause as far as am concerned, all the Gulf countries are unfortunately 3rd world although they're extremely rich.
 

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Well i'm not sure if they're officially third world countries, but they most certainly have thrid world characteristics, which is why i said "in many ways" they remain third world..

Their third world charateristics i'd say include the fact that many of the GCC countries are oil economies...Like Saudi, Kuwait, and Qatar who rely almost entirely on their oil revenues, with oil accounting for as much as half of their GDP if not more...Bahrain and the emirates, on the other hand, are less dependent as petroleum only accounts for approximately 30% of their GDP...

Saudi though i'd say is most definately a third world country as it has an exploding population, a slightly low literacy rate, and high unemployment, among other things...
 

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What does the fact that "the political structures of each individual gulf country is very different then the other" have to do with anything?
It has everything to do with it. The EU is treating the GCC as one economic/political body. However in reality the GCC isn't one political body. The EU might suggest improvent in the political structure that may only apply to KSA while this same suggestion might be already in place in Kuwait since the 7's. Thus Kuwait would have to wait for KSA to perform this suggestion until it can go ahead with the deal. The EU criteria will be across the board, if one country is lack democratic institutions (let say thats their suggestion) or that country is slow in applying them it will come at the expense of the other GCC countries. We have countries relatively advanced like Kuwait and Bahrain, other moving fast towards democratiztion of tis institutes like Qatar and other who seem unwilling wanting to move anywhere.

This isnt the same as America's FTA where it applied its policies on one country, bahrain, then moved to another, UAE and Oman.

This is why i said the political structures are different.


third world charateristics i'd say include the fact that many of the GCC countries are oil economies
Who said being an oil economy makes you a third world country. Norway's economy strongly realies on oil, im sure its first world country. What if the countries depend on oil heavily, really so what? I mean what are they suppose to do with all this oil, pump it into the sea. KSA has 25% of world reserves, dont you expect them to export this black gold.
One thing in economics I think I should point out is competative advantage. China's competative advantage is in its labor force, thus china mainly exports good that are labor intensive. Japan competative advantage is technology, thus japan exports technology related goods. KSA, QAtar, and Kuwait competative advantage are in the oil/gas goods. Thus mainly these countries export oil, LNG, pipeline gas, ethyne, hydrogen, sulphur related goods and so on. It just makes economic sense. Its more sensable to qatar to invest one billion dollars in the gas related industry, coz we have a lot of gas, rather then spend one billion in the computer manufacturing industry.

Im for diversifing economies, but it should be at a very controlled and managable pace.
 
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