Pakistan, Gulf Cooperation Council strike 'preliminary' deal on free trade

FTA comes as significant development as it marks milestone in both sides’ economic cooperation

September 29, 2023
Caretaker Federal Minister for Commerce Dr Gohar Ejaz (left) and GCC Secretary General Jasem Mohamed Albudaiwi (right) sign the document of FTA. — X/mincompk

Pakistan and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) on Friday held a final round of talks and reached a "preliminary" free trade agreement (FTA), aimed at serving the economic interests.

The deal was signed by Caretaker Commerce Minister Dr Gohar Ejaz and GCC Secretary General Jasem Mohamed Albudaiwi in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia the joint statement for the Pakistan-GCC FTA.


“Both parties looked forward to the expeditious signing, ratification, and implementation of the agreement, which will mark a new chapter in the economic relations between our parties," a joint statement issued by both parties stated.

The final round was held from September 26-28 at the GCC Headquarters in the Saudi capital.

This is a significant development as the FTA is the first by GCC with any country since 2009 and marks a milestone in both sides’ economic cooperation.

On the occasion Dr Ejaz said that Pakistan has excellent relations with all the countries of the GCC and this FTA will ensure that the country's economic ties are commensurate with these relations.

This will now be followed by an internal administrative and approval process before signing and entry into force of the agreement.

"The Preliminary FTA between the Council and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan comes in recognition of the importance of strengthening trade relations and economic cooperation with countries and international blocs," the GCC said.

The long sought plan was finalised in January 2022 in line with the memorandum of understanding (MoU) on Strategic Dialogue between the two sides.