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Singapore Fosters Stronger Ties with GCC After Meetings Between Top Officials

Singapore appears to have strengthened its relationship with the Gulf Cooperation Council. Officials from the city-state and the members of the council met in Riyadh. The two parties discussed ways to improve cooperation in areas where they enjoyed mutual interest.

GCC Secretary-General Jasem Al-Budaiwi and Singapore’s Ambassador Wen Zhao Ming had a meeting in the Saudi capital. A press report said the conference was to enhance relations and build up multilateral trade.

Al-Budaiwi underscored the remarkable relations the GCC countries have with Singapore. Especially in the economic, investment, and trade sectors.

The GCC head also reiterated the recent developments on the free trade agreement between both parties. This was signed back in 2008.

Al-Budaiwi emphasized how important it was to solidify the ties the GCC had with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. Singapore is a longstanding member of good standing in the ASEAN.

The agreement between Singapore and the GCC covers many issues. These are related to trade, customer procedures, and rules of origin. It also includes government procedures and services.

The treaty between the two allows for GCC goods to enjoy duty-free access to the Singapore market. It also makes room for Garden City’s domestic exports to enter the Gulf via a tariff-free concession.

There are several vital GCC sectors that benefit from the free trade agreement. The council’s petrochemicals and steel industries enjoy an advantage due to the FTA. Jewelry, machinery, and iron products also receive a boost.

Al-Budaiwi has been busy shoring up the Kingdom’s relations in Asia. He also had a meeting with Malaysia’s deputy minister of foreign affairs in June of this year,

Their meeting in Riyadh focused on how to bolster cooperation between GCC countries and Malaysia. The two ministers agreed that the best way forward was to raise the level of dialogue between them.

The GCC is also working on having a stronger presence in the West. The council is close to finalizing a free trade agreement with the United Kingdom. This is expected to be completed after a fourth round of discussions in July.

The agreement between the UK and the Gulf states will reportedly boost commerce by as much as 16%. It highlights a major economic opportunity for everyone involved.

The recent round of negotiations was held in London. It lasted from July 17 to 28. There was a decent turnout, with both virtual and in-person attendants. Another round of talks is scheduled for later in the year. It will be organized by the GCC.

Representatives from the UK and the GCC have had many meetings. So far, the two parties have had 44 meetings. These included 23 technical discussions about key policy issues.

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