(MENAFN – Kuwait News Agency (KUNA))
BRUSSELS, Feb 18 (KUNA) — The European Union’s trade chief Thursday said the EU is ready to engage with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to develop trade relations between the two blocs.
“We are open for engagement and open to seek ways for future cooperation,” EU Commissioner for Trade, Valdis Dombrovskis, told an online press conference in Brussels.
He made the comment while presenting a report on EU trade strategy for the coming years, in reply to a question by KUNA on EU-GCC trade relations.
He said the EU intends to intensify its engagement with Africa and its neighbouring countries, and to consolidate its partnerships with key growth regions, notably in Latin America and Asia-Pacific.
Dombrovskis explained that today’s report did not specifically “outline our future cooperation with the GCC as we cannot outline and specify our future relations with many different countries in the world.”
“But this does not mean that we would not engage with other countries and other partners in the world and that definitely concerns our cooperation with the GCC,” he stressed.
“The challenges we face require a new strategy for EU trade policy. We need open, rules-based trade to help restore growth and job creation post-COVID-19,” he said.
The report says that the EU has a strong network of trade agreements: 46 deals with 78 partners. Across the EU, 35 million jobs depend on trade.
“There is the potential to build on this strong foundation but to do so we have to look beyond our borders, given that 85 percent of global growth will take place outside Europe in the next decade,” he said.
The best way to ensure the EU’s prosperity is to keep trading with our global partners, rather than turning inwards, he added.
The six-member GCC includes Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. (end)
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