China to step up FTA talks with GCC

Worries about how rising yuan has hurt demand for Chinese goods and services abroad. (File)

China will speed up free trade agreement (FTA) talks with six GCC countries as Beijing accelerates efforts to sign such agreements, state media said on Tuesday.

China and members of the Gulf Cooperation Council - Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates - started free trade talks in 2004, and a deal will help China cut costs on energy imports from the region, the official China Daily said.

"GCC countries consider China as a major market for their petrochemical products, and this (FTA) will assist those nations in their industrial development," Zhang Shaogang, head of the Commerce Ministry's international trade and economic affairs department, was quoted as saying.

China inked major free trade agreements with Australia and South Korea this year, and already has deals with a handful of other countries, including Costa Rica, Peru, New Zealand and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.


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