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The GCC Ministerial Council (11th session, June 1984) approved the principle of initiating direct negotiations between the GCC and other countries and international economic groupings. Japan was one of the countries with which the GCC States wanted to develop relations. Then the first round of informal talks was organized in Tokyo, 1987, to be followed by three other rounds, one of which was organized in Riyadh, January 1995. During these rounds, various areas of cooperation were discussed; these included investment, technology transfer, training, energy and standards. These topics were discussed in general without proposing specific recommendations. However, pursuant to the desire of the GCC States, the Japanese side agreed, in principle, to form a working team for trade and investment, provided that the two sides should agree later on the composition and work program of that team. However, no action has been taken regarding this team.
After the economic dialogue between the two sides ceased for many years, Japan expressed its desire (February 2006) to develop its economic, trade and investment relations with the GCC States and to reach an FTA between the two sides. The two sides agreed to consider the possibility of concluding an FTA agreement, and experts held a meeting to discuss initiating the negotiations leading to such an agreement.
The GCC-Japan FTA negotiations began with launching the first round in Tokyo, in September 2006, followed by technical expert meetings and then the last round was launched in Riyadh in March 2009, in which topics related to this agreement were discussed.