Gulf Cooperation Council - Australia FTA
January 30, 2023: The previous Coalition government initiated a scoping negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement with the UAE, comprising the following emirates: Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al-Quwain, and Fujairah and Ras Al Khaimah, and with the Gulf Cooperation Council, which includes Saudi Arabia and Qatar. AFTINET made a submission to the previous government in April 2022 arguing that both negotiations should not proceed because of gross violation of human rights and labour rights in these countries.
April 21, 2022: AFTINET has called on the government to withdraw from trade negotiations with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) until sustained improvements are demonstrated in human rights, labour rights, and women’s rights.
Negotiations on a free trade agreement between Australia and the Gulf Cooperation Council began in July 2007. The GCC is made up of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudia Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates and is Australia 10th largest export market.
Negotiations are moving extremely slowly as the GCC is currently negotiating agreements with other parties including the EU. AFTINET shares similar concerns about these negotiations as with others and calls for increased transparency and assessment of social, environmental and labour impacts of any agreement.