His Excellency Mr Jasem Mohamed Albudaiwi, Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), stated that the signing of a free trade agreement between the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the Republic of South Korea is a historic step towards achieving Gulf economic integration and enhancing economic and trade relations between the two sides.
This came during the signing by His Excellency and His Excellency Mr. Ahn Dukgeung, Minister of Trade of the Republic of South Korea, of the joint statement concluding the negotiations and reaching the Free Trade Agreement between the GCC and the Republic of South Korea, on Thursday, December 28, 2023, in the Republic of South Korea's capital, Seoul.
Moreover, His Excellency stated that free trade agreements are implemented in accordance with the directives of Their Majesties and Highnesses, the leaders of the GCC, towards enhancing the economic relations of the GCC with other countries and international blocs and achieving joint trade and investment interests.
Furthermore, His Excellency mentioned that this signing comes as a result of negotiations that lasted for five negotiating rounds, reflecting the genuine mutual desire to enhance the strategic partnership and economic cooperation between the two sides.
He further added that this agreement is expected to contribute to increasing bilateral trade volume and enhancing trade in goods and services between the two parties, as well as promoting economic diversification plans in the Council member countries and South Korea.
He emphasised that the agreement included 18 chapters, covering trade in goods, services, government procurement, digital trade, cooperation in the field of small and medium-sized enterprises, customs procedures, intellectual property, and other chapters and topics of mutual interest.
It is worth noting that this agreement is the second agreement concluded by the GCC with its trading partners in the world during the current year 2023, following the announcement of the signing of a similar agreement with the Islamic Republic of Pakistan in September of last year.
He further explained that the signing of free trade agreements with both Pakistan and South Korea within a three-month period is a testament to the excellent economic status reached by the GCC countries which have become a destination for countries around the world seeking to engage in various agreements and partnerships, especially in the economic field.
Meanwhile, he expressed pride in the distinguished position reached by the GCC countries and their great credibility regionally and internationally.
His Excellency also expressed gratitude and appreciation to the chief negotiators from both sides, as well as to the negotiating team of the GCC and the technical teams of the GCC countries who worked throughout the negotiating rounds with the aim of reaching the agreement signed today.
"We look forward to the continuation of these excellent efforts to achieve further achievements in joint Gulf work," he concluded.