GCC, France to discuss joint projects

Hundreds of officials and businessmen from Gulf oil producers and France will meet in Paris in October to discuss ways to expand trade and the establishment of joint projects, organizers said on Thursday.

UAE minister of foreign trade Sheikha Lubna Al Qassimi will be among the officials attending the October 27-28 conference, which will cover mutual investment, economic ties and ways to boost trade between the two sides.

Organizers said energy investment will be a key topic at the conference between the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and France, a major member of the European Union, which has been locked in long-standing negotiations with the GCC on a free trade agreement.

GCC secretary general Abdul Latif Al Zayani will also be present at the meeting, to be sponsored by the Dammam-based federation of the GCC chambers of commerce and industry and the GCC-French chamber.

Official figures showed France is one of the top trading partners of the GCC, with two-way commercial exchange standing at around 12.3 billion euros in 2009. The balance was largely in favour of France, with a surplus of 5.2 billion euros.

Trade between France and the Arab countries stood at around 41.5 billion euros in 2009, nearly 15 per cent of France’s total exchange.

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