The six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) said Saturday they had renewed a pledge to set up a customs union aimed at stimulating growth and opening the way to a free-trade deal with the European Union (EU), reported Saudi Press Agency (SPA) Saturday.
In a press statement issued after a meeting in Riyadh of GCC finance and economics ministers, Saudi representative Ibrahim al-Assaf was quoted as saying that the countries "agreed to push ahead with establishing a customs union."
He made no mention of a date.
However, AFP said Sunday that the GCC countries have set March 2005 as the date for setting up the union, but progress has been dogged by internal differences.
The 15-state EU has insisted that the GCC must have its own customs union before it signs a free-trade agreement that will open up its petrochemical and aluminum smelting industries to tariff-free competition from the Gulf, AFP added – (Several Sources)
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