The Kingdom`s trade efforts are aimed at building on an already well-developed structure of bilateral and multilateral agreements. Saudi Arabia has been a member of the World Trade Organization since 2005 and its position in the Arab Wholesale Area gives it privileged market access in 17 MENA economies. As a member of the GCC, Saudi Arabia benefits from the customs union agreed by the bloc in 2003 and from the free trade agreements signed by the GCC with countries such as Syria and Singapore. The United Arab Emirates also signs the World Trade Organization(WTO) Information Technology Agreement (ITA), a treaty that binds 78 countries (which account for 97% of world trade in computer products), which aims to eliminate tariffs on computer products. The many products covered by the treaty are estimated at more than $1.300 billion per year. The Government of Abu Dhabi has established the Advisory Committee on Free Trade Agreements, which aims to lift trade restrictions between the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and the countries with which the United Arab Emirates is negotiating a free trade agreement. In a sign of warmer relations and closer cooperation, Saudi Arabia`s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to announce the signing of more than a dozen agreements, including the resolution of a long-standing maritime dispute. The two heads of state and government also announced a revolutionary agreement for the construction of a bridge that the Red Sea promised between the two countries and the influx of new economic aid to Egypt. Some initially welcomed the meeting with skepticism, but many reacted with astonishment to the depth and breadth of cooperation reflected in the agreements. Saudi editorials are predictably gratulatory about this recent development, while others focus on the geo-strategic implications of the Saudi-Egyptian relationship. This is why the editorial of the Khaleej Times hails the announcement of plans to build a bridge over the Red Sea as a „historic step…. This is a historic moment for both Arab countries, as the proposed 30-mile concrete link will take their trade relations to new heights…. The proposed dam on the strategic straits that connect Nabq in Egypt and Ras Alsheikh Hamid in Saudi Arabia has parallels with the Bosphorus Bridge that connects Turkey to Europe.
The steel suspension geographically connects Asia to Europe. Similarly, the Red Sea Bridge will connect the Middle East to Africa…. Of late, Saudi Arabia`s role in assembling the Syrian opposition for a meaningful dialogue over their war-torn country, and its efforts to salvage Yemen from the Houthi rebels are highly appreciated.