(Yicai Global) Dec. 22 -- China has made further progress in Gulf Cooperation Council free trade agreement talks held in Riyadh, the Ministry of Commerce says. The talks follow President Xi Jinping's state visit to Saudi Arabia in January, when the two sides announced to resume negotiations over the agreement that had been suspended for 6 years.
Free trade negotiations with Saudi Arabia, who count China as their biggest trade partner, previously stalled in 2009 due to protectionist policies over petrochemical products from Gulf producers. China wanted to continue free trade negotiations yet also had to protect their own producers from competition.
After the 6th, 7th and 8th round of negotiations in Riyadh, Guangzhou and Beijing in February, May and October respectively, the China-Gulf Cooperation Council launched their ninth-round negotiation in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia from Dec. 19 to 21.
China has concluded nine out of 15 negotiation issues, reached agreements in three chapters including technical barriers to trade, legal provisions and e-commerce, and made positive progress in core goods, services and other fields, the website of the Ministry of Commerce said.
Headquartered in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf Cooperation Council was established in May 1981. Current members include the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Yemen.