The European Union has unveiled a new, strategic partnership to strengthen block’s cooperation with GCC
The Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association (GPCA) recently welcomed the European Union’s announcement to adopt a strategic partnership with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and its member states in the areas of energy security and trade.
The joint communication, unveiled by the EU further addresses a series of key policy areas and presents concrete proposals to strengthen EU-GCC cooperation on the green transition, climate change, trade, economic diversification, regional stability and global security, among others.
GPCA welcomes the opportunity for closer cooperation between the GCC states and the EU as it would not only provide significant socio-economic benefits for the people and consumers of both regions, but it would also advance their efforts to solve key sustainability challenges, innovate fresh solutions and develop local human capital.
The announcement aligns closely with GPCA’s position on strengthening bilateral trade with Europe by removing trade barriers and tariffs. After Asia, Western Europe is the GCC’s second largest export partner for chemicals and petrochemicals, with 6.7 million tons exported in 2020.
Since its inception in 2006, GPCA has consistently advocated for a free trade agreement (FTA) between the two regions. The GCC is currently signatory to an FTA with the European Free Trade Area (EFTA), comprising Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland, but a wider FTA with the EU is yet to be reached.
In the current landscape, geopolitical crises, energy supply challenges and increased trade tensions continue to underline the importance of forming strategic partnerships with a reliable, long-term partner. GPCA believes that an FTA, whether general or sectoral, would help to maximize potential economic and trade benefits to both regions.
“The GCC region with its vast natural reserves, both hydrocarbon and renewable, combined with the EU’s human capital and knowhow, amassed over decades of science and development, will result in a stronger and more resilient relationship between the two economic areas,” concluded Dr. Abdulwahab Al-Sadoun, Secretary General, GPCA.