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Gulf Warns EU: Our Foreign Trade is Shifting to Asia | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) logo is seen during a meeting in Manama, Bahrain April 7, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Riyadh – A prominent Gulf official warned the European Union (EU) that Europe’s share of Gulf continues’ foreign trade is declining, decreasing from 24 percent in 1992 to 11 percent last year — the Gulf foreign trade is shifting to Asia.

For 20 years, Gulf countries have been carrying out talks with the EU to sign a free-trade agreement between the two parties. But Europeans insist to include political topics in the negotiations’ program, which is rejected by the Gulf.

The GCC lately suspended trade negotiations with economic countries and blocs for the sake of re-evaluating the outcomes of these talks.

GCC’s Director of the Economic Administration at the General Secretariat Abdul Aziz al-Oaishek affirmed that the EU is still the first commercial partner for GCC with trade exchange worth more than USD183 billion.

Oaishek warned, however, that the share of EU from the Gulf foreign trade continues to decline.

“It declined from 24 percent in 1992 to 11 percent last year,” he said, adding that the majority of GCC states’ trade moved toward Asia.

Oaishek made his statement following the conclusion of the conference on “trade and economic relations between the EU and the GCC countries” in Brussels on Wednesday.

The conference was organized by European Parliament’s Committee on International Trade to discuss necessary mechanisms to increase trade and investment cooperation between the EU and GCC.

Oaishek expressed the GCC keenness to reinforce economic and commercial ties with the EU and he showcased the national transformation plans in the GCC – these plans seek to speed economic diversification and increase citizens’ and private sector contribution to the economy.

Chairperson of EPDAP Michele Alliot-Marie pointed out the need to achieve genuine partnerships between the European and Gulf in industrial development.