Gulf Cooperation Council officials said the European Union needs to step up efforts to conclude a long-planned free trade agreement between the two economic blocs, after failing to reach a compromise despite concessions from the Gulf states.
BRUSSELS – Canada must offer the European Union broader access to its markets if both sides are to agree to a free-trade accord they have been negotiating since 2009, the EU’s trade chief said on Thursday.
A free-trade agreement with Canada would be the European Union’s first such deal with a major world economy. The United States is watching closely because Washington will launch separate trade negotiations with Brussels later this year.
CALGARY — The political will is high to conclude a free trade deal between Canada and the European Union, even if negotiations to resolve outstanding issues are taking longer than expected, the head of the economic and trade section of the EU’s delegation in Canada said Wednesday.
A sweeping free trade pact between the European Union and South Korea, the first in Asia for the world's largest economic bloc, came into effect on Friday, officials in Seoul said."The South Korea-EU Free Trade Agreement (FTA) took effect as of early Friday," Kim Hee-Sang, director for FTA negotiations at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, told AFP.The ministry said in a statement that the deal would "open up new opportunities for trade and investment" between South Korea and the EU and strengthen diplomatic relations between the two partners.
Today Secretary Gary Locke and the congressional delegation concluded
their three-day trip to Seoul with a visit to the Demilitarized Zone – the
border between South and North Korea – and a lunch with U.S troops and their
families at Yongsan Garrison to thank them for their service. The group also
met with leaders of South Korea’s Democratic Party and Grand National Party at
Korea’s National Assembly to discuss the U.S.-South Korea Trade Agreement
“Over the last few days we have had the
opportunity to see first-hand the benefits that KORUS will bring to the
economies of both the U.S. and Korea,” Locke said. “There is great demand for
U.S. products -- from made-in-America cell phone components to life-saving
medical equipment. This agreement will increase mutually beneficial trade,
strengthen our economies and create jobs in both of our countries.”
Locke also visited Seoul National University Hospital for a
demonstration of Varian Medical Systems’ (Palo Alto, Calif.) advanced
radiotherapy technology. Varian is the world leader in this life-saving,
cancer treatment technology with approximately $34 million worth of annual
sales to South Korea. Their equipment is manufactured in California and
Utah and exported globally. Under the U.S.-South Korea trade agreement, the
tariff on Varian’s products would be eliminated, making the company more
competitive in the Korean market.
OTTAWA — “Considerable progress” has been made towards a free trade deal between Canada and the European Union, but there are still outstanding issues that must be settled before an agreement can be finalized, Prime Minister Stephen Harper says.
“There remain some important issues to resolve, and obviously nothing is resolved until everything is resolved,” Harper said Thursday during a visit to Ottawa by French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault.
Gulf states leading mediation efforts to end a political crisis in Yemen hope to reach a deal by which embattled President Ali Abdullah Saleh would quit, Qatar's prime minister said on Thursday.Members of the Gulf Cooperation Council "hope to reach a deal with the Yemeni president to step down," Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem al-Thani said according to QNA state news agency.Foreign ministers of the GCC agreed Sunday to begin contacts with the Yemeni government and the opposition "with ideas to overcome the current situation".
Foreign ministers of energy-rich Gulf monarchies and Turkey on Sunday opened a new round of talks aimed at boosting economic and political ties and signing a free trade agreement.Kuwait's Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammad al-Sabah, whose country holds the rotating presidency of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) alliance, said trade between the two sides has been growing rapidly.The GCC states and Turkey in September 2008 signed a memorandum of understanding to achieve a strategic partnership in all fields between the pro-Western Arab bloc and Ankara.