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US, GCC Sign Trade And Investment Agreement

by Mike Godfrey,, Washington

01 October 2012

United States Trade Representative (USTR) Ron Kirk has announced that the United States and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), comprising Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, have signed a Framework Agreement for Trade, Economic, Investment and Technical Cooperation.

A joint committee will be established to discuss areas where both the GCC and the US share mutual interests, including considering opportunities for enhancing economic, commercial, investment and technical cooperation, fostering their economic relations and increasing the volume of trade and investment between them.

Total two-way trade between the US and the GCC totalled almost USD100bn in 2011, while US foreign direct investment in GCC countries was USD23.5bn in the previous year.

The GCC countries together ranked as the tenth largest export market for the US, with US goods exports to the region last year totalling nearly USD38bn. Leading US exports to the GCC region include vehicles, machinery, aircraft, electrical goods, and optical and medical instruments.

On the other hand, the GCC region collectively was the sixth largest supplier of imports to the United States in 2011, with US goods imports from the region totalling nearly USD62bn. Leading US imports from the GCC include oil, aluminium, fertilizers, and organic chemicals.

The US currently has bilateral trade agreements with all six of the individual GCC member states that make up the GCC. The Framework Agreement is intended to supplement and build upon – not replace – the US’s engagement with individual member states on bilateral issues.

“This important trade and investment agreement will help to grow and strengthen our economic ties with the GCC – which is a key strategic US partner in the Middle East and North Africa region,” said Kirk. “The US greatly values its economic relationship with this group, which is a focus of our efforts to increase American jobs and US exports."

TAGS: United Arab Emirates | tax | investment | Kuwait | Saudi Arabia | export duty | foreign direct investment (FDI) | law | trade treaty | investment treaty | Bahrain | Qatar | agreements | United States | import duty | Gulf Cooperation Council | trade | Dubai | Oman

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