Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have agreed on the investment details for a free trade agreement with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) after 19 years. The agreement is expected to be approved at a meeting in Doha. The GCC Secretariat has the authority to sign the agreement on behalf of its six member countries. Pakistan and the GCC had signed a framework agreement to explore the FTA in 2004. Technical discussions were conducted in the previous year to assess the feasibility of finalizing the agreement, which could enhance Pakistan’s exports to the GCC. Pakistan had previously introduced a new template for investment treaties, only providing for local arbitration as a remedy. However, Saudi Arabia insisted on the specific inclusion of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) for arbitration, leading to a revision of the investment template. Pakistan already has international arbitration agreements, including the ICSID, with four other GCC countries, and the newly introduced investment chapter will now apply to investments with Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
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