The EU and the Gulf Cooperation Council started negotiations for a free trade agreement in 1990. The free trade agreement must provide for progressive and reciprocal liberalisation of trade in goods and services. Negotiations faced several challenges and virtually ceased in 2008, when the GCC countries suspended all ongoing negotiations in which they participated. The six member countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates) are a commercially important region and were the EU`s fourth largest export market in 2016. The GCC countries have established their own customs unions and are working to complete a single market. GCC is New Zealand`s eighth largest trading partner (the Uae and Saudi Arabia being the main markets). In 2017, New Zealand`s exports of goods and services to the GCC amounted to NZ$1.98 billion and total two-way trade amounted to NZ$4.66 billion. The GCC countries are our seventh export target. In May 2017, the EU and the GCC launched a specific dialogue on trade and investment issues, in which the private sector also participated. This dialogue provides a specific platform to address trade and investment issues and improve cooperation on issues of mutual interest, such as market access incentives, regulatory requirements and opportunities to promote greater trade and investment flows. The agreement also provides for tariff concessions for processed agricultural products.

Basic agricultural products are covered by bilateral agricultural agreements, which are part of the instruments for the creation of the free trade area between the parties. The Chapter on Trade in Services (Chapter 3) closely follows the approach of the WTO General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). It covers all four types of services within the meaning of the GATS and is addressed to all services sectors. The chapter deals with general disciplines, while the annexes contain more specific provisions for certain sectors or aspects (e.g. B on mutual recognition, passenger transport, financial services and telecommunications). There is also a protocol to the agreement concerning the services that are an integral part of the agreement. In the field of intellectual property, the parties confirm in substance the WTO TRIPS Agreement. They undertake to conclude negotiations on an annex on the nature and ownership of intellectual property no later than two years after the entry into force of the Agreement. In the meantime, a specific consultation mechanism is provided for in the event of intellectual property problems affecting the conditions of exchange between the parties. GCC countries are also motivated to reduce their trade dependence on oil and diversify their economies into the high-tech and services sectors. There is great potential for the New Zealand government, service companies and education providers to work towards this goal with the GCC countries.

The chapter on trade in goods also contains provisions on trade policy measures, such as anti-dumping and safeguard measures. The two sides meet annually to discuss trade, including in the framework of the EU-GCC Joint Cooperation Committee in Riyadh or Brussels. New Zealand and the GCC naturally go hand in hand when it comes to trade….