Economic integration is one of the basic objectives of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in accordance with its statute, article IV which sets out the Council’s main objectives.
These objectives are:
– To achieve coordination, integration, and interdependence among Member States in all fields in order to reach their unity.
– To strengthen the links and cooperation among its people in various areas.
– Develop similar regulations in economic, financial, commercial, customs, transport, and other matters.
-Support scientific and technical progress in economic fields, establish scientific research centers and joint projects, and encourage cooperation with the private sector.
Gulf Economic Integration
The Gulf Integration seeks to liberalize the movement of factors of production, remove all trade challenges and harmonize and unify economic policies.
This was done through various stages of establishing the Free Trade Area in 1983, the Gulf Customs Union in 2003, and the GCC Common Market in 2008, while work is underway to complete the requirements of the Monetary Union and issue a single currency for the GCC countries.
The GCC countries adopt pragmatic policies and a realistic gradual application of economic integration projects that align with the “step by step” principle, helping to set goals and develop application programs.
The Gulf Common Market seeks through economic citizenship, the full equality of GCC citizens in all fields and in particular in residency and freedom of movement, employment in government agencies and the private sector, social insurance and retirement, dimensional and professional aspects, economic activities, investment, digital services, real estate, and property ownership.
Moreover, it aims to facilitate: capital transfer, tax policies, trade, equity purchase, corporate establishment, education, health services, and social development.
While discussing the economics of the GCC, it is of paramount importance to mention that the forecast of the BWC report on the growth of the economy of this region. The report indicates that recent data available for the third quarter of 2022 show solid growth in non-oil sectors in Saudi Arabia, Dubai, and Bahrain.
Oman experienced a contraction of -1% year-on-year as a result of the weak construction sector (which declined by -22% year-on-year) since the beginning of the year. With the exception of this sector, other non-oil sectors grew by 4.2%.
The report noted that Saudi Arabia, in particular, possesses strong momentum reinforced by government expenditures and economic reforms. Each sector returned in the third quarter to levels that prevailed before the coronavirus pandemic.
Non-oil sectors as a whole grew by 8.4%. Although some sectors, especially transport, and hospitality, have yet to fully recover in other Gulf states, these sectors are recording significant progress.
Gulf Cooperation Council
The Gulf Cooperation Council is a regional organization composed of six Arab States: The United Arab Emirates, the Kingdom of Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the Sultanate of Oman, the State of Qatar and the State of Kuwait. GCC aims to develop cooperation between these countries, develop their relations, achieve coordination, integration, and interdependence, deepen and strengthen the links between their peoples in various fields, establish joint projects, and develop similar regulations in all economic, cultural, media, social and legislative fields.
The Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf was established on 25 May 1981 at a meeting held in the UAE capital Abu Dhabi. Dr. Nayef Falah Mubarak Al-Hajraf is currently the General Secretariat of the Council with its headquarters at Riyadh.