New York, NY – United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk today announced that the United States and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) signed a Framework Agreement for Trade, Economic, Investment and Technical Cooperation. The Agreement will establish a Joint Committee to discuss areas where both the GCC and the United States share mutual interests, including considering opportunities for enhancing economic, commercial, investment and technical cooperation, fostering their economic relations and increasing the volume of trade and investment between them. It was signed in New York this week by Deputy United States Trade Representative Miriam Sapiro, Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs for Multilateral Affairs of Saudi Arabia, His Highness Pince Turki bin Mohammed Al Saud and Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council Dr. Abdul Latif Al-Zayani. The GCC is comprised of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Total two-way trade (exports plus imports) between the United States and the GCC totaled almost $100 billion last year. The GCC countries, together, ranked tenth as an export market for the United States in 2011 with U.S. goods exports to the region totaling nearly $38 billion. Leading U.S. exports to the GCC region include vehicles, machinery, aircraft, electrical machinery, and optical and medical instruments.
“This important trade and investment agreement will help to grow and strengthen our economic ties with the Gulf Cooperation Council – which is a key strategic U.S. partner in the Middle East and North Africa region,” said Ambassador Kirk. “The United States greatly values its economic relationship with this group, which is a focus of our efforts to increase American jobs and U.S. exports under President Obama’s National Export Initiative.”
The GCC region collectively was the sixth largest supplier of imports to the United States in 2011 with U.S. goods imports from the region totaling nearly $62 billion. Leading U.S. imports from the GCC include oil, aluminum, fertilizers, and organic chemicals. U.S. foreign direct investment (FDI) in GCC countries was $23.5 billion in 2010.
The United States currently has bilateral trade agreements with all six of the individual member states that make up the GCC. This Framework Agreement will supplement and build upon – not replace – our engagement with individual member states on bilateral issues.