Japan and the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council will hold preliminary talks on a free-trade agreement in late May, government sources said Tuesday.

The GCC, to which oil producers Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait belong, has asked Japan to start FTA negotiations and the Japan Business Federation (Nippon Keidanren), the country’s biggest business lobby, urged the government in September to launch them as soon as possible.

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