EFTA and the Gulf Cooperation Council hold their fourth Joint Committee meeting

Published 20-01-2022
EFTA and GCC delegates and their respective spokesperson
On 20 January 2022, delegations from the EFTA States and the GCC States met by videoconference for their fourth Joint Committee meeting. The meeting had been preceded by the fourth meeting of the Sub-Committee on Customs and Origin Matters held on 11 November 2021.
Mr Erik Andreas Underland, Chief negotiator at the Norwegian Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries, acted as the EFTA spokesperson, while his excellency, Mr Juma Mohammed Al Kait, Assistant Undersecretary for Foreign Trade Affairs at the Ministry of Economy of the United Arab Emirates, headed the GCC delegation.
The Joint Committee discussed the implementation and functioning of the Agreement where the GCC confirmed all tariff dismantling obligations had been implemented. The future joint notification by EFTA and the GCC of the Agreement to the WTO Committee on Regional Trade Agreements (CRTA) was addressed with agreement being reached on the next steps in the process. The Joint Committee received an oral report on the Sub-Committee meeting on Customs and Origin Matters that took place on 11 November 2021, where ongoing work towards updating of HS codes, EFTA’s proposal for an annex on trade facilitation and customs and origin related implementation issues were discussed. The Joint Committee encouraged the Sub-Committee to maintain the positive dynamic to resolve all remaining issues. The Joint Committee further explored the possibility of introducing origin declarations and approved exporter systems and discussed the removal of provisions on anti-dumping measures from the Agreement. Finally, EFTA proposed the inclusion of a new chapter on Trade and Sustainable Development to the GCC.
The EFTA countries exported goods worth USD 6.28 billion to the GCC countries in 2020, with clocks and watches and pharmaceutical products accounting for the main exported goods. EFTA countries’ imports from the GCC States amounted to USD 2.91 billion. The total merchandise trade value (imports and exports) between the EFTA States and the GCC amounted to almost USD 9.20billion in 2020. All trade figures exclude gold.
See the Joint Committee agenda here.
Read more about merchandise trade between EFTA and the GCC here.
Read more about the EFTA–GCC Free Trade Agreement here.
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