Lebanon, GCC ink free trade agreement
Lebanon and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) signed a free trade agreement Tuesday to promote trade through eliminating customs barriers.
The agreement is the first of its kind between the six-nation alliance - grouping Saudi Arabia with Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates - and another Arab country.
The foreign ministers of Lebanon and Kuwait - Jean Obeid and Sheikh Mohammed al-Sabah, respectively - signed the accord, in the presence of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri and GCC chief Sheikh Abdulrahman Attiya.
"This agreement envisages the immediate lifting of customs barriers for goods from the moment of its adoption by the (countries’) institutions," said Attiya. Lifting customs tariffs for services will take place in stages. The accord excludes products banned by either of the two parties "for religious, sanitary, security, ecological or social reasons".
The GCC secretary general said he hoped the agreement would set an example for other countries in the region and be a milestone in setting up an Arab free trade zone. (menareport.com)
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