Pakistan inks historic pact with Gulf Cooperation Council

Pakistan inks historic pact with Gulf Cooperation Council

Pakistan and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have concluded their ultimate round of negotiations and officially signed a preliminary agreement for a free trade pact in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

This development was disclosed on Friday. The finalization of the Pakistan-GCC Free Trade Agreement (FTA) took place on Thursday, following intensive discussions held from September 26-28, 2023, at the GCC headquarters in Riyadh.

This announcement comes from a press release issued today by the Ministry of Commerce. Interim Commerce Minister Gohar Ejaz and GCC Secretary General Jassem Mohamed Albudaiwi jointly signed the official statement.

According to the statement, both parties eagerly anticipate the swift signing, ratification, and implementation of the agreement, which is poised to establish a new era in economic relations between them.

Following this, there will be an internal administrative and approval process before the agreement becomes officially effective. The GCC secretary general described this preliminary deal as a recognition of the significance of strengthening trade ties and economic collaboration with countries and international alliances.

He emphasized that this historic economic agreement signifies a crucial turning point in cooperation between both sides and will contribute to growth and prosperity, aligning with their mutual interests.

It underscores the pivotal role of close cooperation among nations in reinforcing economic relations. Ejaz, the commerce minister, regarded this as a momentous development, as it marks the GCC's first FTA with any nation since 2009.

He emphasized the excellent relations Pakistan holds with all GCC countries and highlighted that this FTA will ensure that their economic ties align with these strong diplomatic relations. Pakistan has been pursuing an FTA with the GCC since at least 2005.

In January of the previous year, both sides finalized the Joint Action Plan for Strategic Dialogue (2022-26).

This plan, in accordance with a memorandum of understanding on strategic dialogue, laid the groundwork for a comprehensive approach to deepen cooperation across various domains, including political, security, trade and investment, agriculture and food security, transportation, energy, environment, health, culture, and education.