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Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf

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مجلس التعاون لدول الخليج العربيةCooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (CCASG)
Map indicating CCASG members
Official languagesArabic
TypeTrade bloc
MembershipArab states of the Persian Gulf (6)
Leaders
 - Secretary-GeneralAbdul Rahman ibn Hamad al-Attiyah
Establishment
 - As the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)
May 25, 1981 
Area
 - Total2,672,700 km2 
1,031,935 sq mi 
Population
 -  estimate40,338,196[1] 
GDP (nominal) estimate
 - Total$1,103,235 million 
 - Per capita$22,083 
Currencysee footnote 1
Website
http://www.gcc-sg.org/
1Common currency planned for introduction in 2010.
Present currencies (ISO 4217 codes in brackets):
Bahraini dinar (BHD) • Kuwaiti dinar (KWD) • Omani rial (OMR) • Qatari riyal (QAR) • Saudi riyal (SAR) • UAE dirham (AED)

The Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (CCASG; Arabic: مجلس التعاون لدول الخليج العربية‎), also known as the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC; مجلس التعاون الخليجي) is a political and economic union involving the six Arab states of the Persian Gulf with many economic and social objectives.

Contents

Members

 United Arab Emirates
 Kuwait
 Bahrain
 Saudi Arabia
 Oman
 Qatar

[2]

History

Created on May 25, 1981, the 630-million-acre (2,500,000 km2) Council comprises the Persian Gulf states of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The unified economic agreement between the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council was signed on November 11, 1981 in Riyadh. These countries are often referred to as The GCC States.

Not all of the countries neighboring the Persian Gulf are members of the council. Iran and Iraq are currently excluded although both nations have a coastline on the Persian Gulf. The associate membership of Iraq in certain GCC-related institutions was discontinued after the invasion of Kuwait.[3] The GCC States have announced that they support the Document of The International Compact with Iraq that was adopted at Sharm El-Sheikh on 4-5 May 2007. It calls for regional economic integration with the neighboring states but there is no prospect of Iraqi accession to the GCC.[4]

Yemen is (currently) in negotiations for GCC membership, and hopes to join by 2016.[5] The GCC has already approved Yemen's accession to the GCC Standardization Authority, Gulf Organization for Industrial Consultancy, GCC Auditing and Accounting Authority, Gulf Radio and TV Authority, The GCC Council of Health Ministers, The GCC Education and Training Bureau, The GCC Council of Labor & and Social Affairs Ministers, and The Gulf Cup Football Tournament. The Council issued directives that all the necessary legal measures be taken so that Yemen would have the same rights and obligations of GCC member states in those institutions.[6] There is, however, strong resistance to full Yemeni membership amongst most GCC states, due to the country's poverty, large population, and different system of government.

The GCC Patent Office was approved in 1992 and established soon after[7].

A GCC common market was launched on January 1, 2008.[8] The common market grants national treatment to all GCC firms and citizens in any other GCC country, and in doing so removes all barriers to cross country investment and services trade. A customs union was declared in 2003, but practical implementation has lagged behind. Indeed, shortly afterwards, Bahrain concluded a separate Free Trade Agreement with the USA, in effect cutting through the GCC's agreement, and causing much friction.

The GCC members and Yemen are also members of the Greater Arab Free Trade Area (GAFTA). However, this is unlikely to significantly affect the agenda of the GCC as it has a more aggressive timetable than GAFTA and is seeking greater integration.

Main objectives

Among the stated objectives are:

  • formulating similar regulations in various fields such as economy, finance, trade, customs, tourism, legislation, and administration;
  • fostering scientific and technical progress in industry, mining, agriculture, water and animal resources;
  • establishing scientific research centers;
  • setting up joint ventures;
  • unified military presence The Peninsula Shield
  • encouraging cooperation of the private sector;
  • strengthening ties between their peoples; and
  • establishing a common currency by 2010;[9][10][11][12]
However, Oman had announced in December 2006 it will not be able to meet the target date and the UAE have announced their withdrawal from the monetary union project in May 2009. This happened immediately after it was announced that the central bank for the monetary union would be located in Riyadh and not in the UAE. The name Khaleeji has been proposed as a name for this currency.

Economy

For main article see Economy of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf

This area has some of the fastest growing economies in the world, mostly due to a boom in oil and natural gas revenues coupled with a building and investment boom backed by decades of saved petroleum revenues. In an effort to build a tax base and economic foundation before the reserves run out, the UAE's investment arms, including Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, retain over $900 billion in assets. Other regional funds also have several hundred billion dollars.

The region is also an emerging hotspot for events, including the 2006 Asian Games in Doha, Qatar. Doha also submitted an application for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, although this bid was unsuccessful having recently been dropped from the list of candidate cities.

In 2006, its GDP (nominal) was $717.8 billion (IMF April 2007), led by spectacular growth in United Arab Emirates and Qatar.[13]. In 2007, its GDP (nominal) was $1,022.62 billion (IMF April 2008). IMF predicts its GDP to reach $1,112.076 billion at end of 2008 and $1,210.112 billion at end of 2009. Qatar is expected to overtake top ranked Luxembourg in GDP (nominal) per capita next year for the world's top spot. See List of countries by GDP (nominal) per capita.

Recently, the leaders of the Council have come under fire for doing too little to combat the economic downturn. While GCC countries were among the first hit - and the first to respond to the crisis - their programs have been prone to disparities, and they have placed their region on the brink of even deeper crises. Recovery plans have been criticized for crowding out the private sector, failing to set clear priorities for growth, failing to restore weak consumer and investor confidence, and undermining long-term stability.[14]

Secretaries-General

  • Abdullah Bishara[15], Kuwait, 26 May 1981 — April 1993
  • Fahim bin Sultan al-Qasimi, United Arab Emirates, April 1993 — April 1996
  • Jamil ibn Ibrahim al-Hujailan, Saudi Arabia, April 1996 — 31 March 2002
  • Abdul Rahman ibn Hamad al-Attiyah, Qatar, 1 April 2002 to date

Logo

The logo of the GCC consists of two concentric circles. On the upper part of the larger circle, the Bismillah phrase is written in Arabic. On the lower part of that circle, the Council's full name is written in Arabic. The inner circle contains an embossed hexagonal shape representing the Council's six member countries. The inside of the hexagon is filled by a map encompassing the Arabian Peninsula, on which the areas of the member countries are colored brown. No borders are shown.

See also

References

  1. ^ [1] wikipedia. Retrieved 2008.
  2. ^ http://www.gccsg.org/eng/index.php?action=GCC
  3. ^ see GCC statement on Media Cooperation
  4. ^ see Political Affairs
  5. ^ "Yemen hopeful to join GCC in 2016". Yemen Times. December 19, 2006. http://yementimes.com/article.shtml?i=905&p=local&a=7. Retrieved 2007-04-07. 
  6. ^ see The Closing Statement of the Twenty Second Session GCC The Final Communiqué of The 29th Session
  7. ^ "GCC Patent Office page of the GCC website". http://www.gcc-sg.org/eng/index.php?action=Sec-Show&ID=62&W2SID=3439. Retrieved 2008-02-12. 
  8. ^ Arab Times :: GCC states to launch joint market today
  9. ^ [|Khan, Mohsin S.] (April 2009) (PDF), The GCC Monetary Union: Choice of Exchange Rate Regime, Washington DC, USA: Peterson Institute for International Economics, http://www.iie.com/publications/wp/wp09-1.pdf, retrieved 2009-05-11 
  10. ^ [|Sturm, Michael]; [|Siegfried, Nikolaus] (June 2005) (PDF), Regional Monetary Integration in the Member States of the Gulf Cooperation Council, Frankfurt am Main, Germany: European Central Bank, Occasional Paper Series, No. 31, ISSN 1607-1484, http://www.ecb.int/pub/pdf/scpops/ecbocp31.pdf, retrieved 2009-05-11 
  11. ^ [|Abed, George T.]; [|Erbas, S. Nuri]; Guerami, Behrouz (April 1, 2003) (PDF), The GCC Monetary Union: Some Considerations for the Exchange Rate Regime, Washington DC, USA: International Monetary Fund (IMF), Working Paper No. 03/66, ISSN 1934-7073, http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/cat/longres.cfm?sk=16173.0, retrieved 2009-05-11 
  12. ^ [2]
  13. ^ See references in List of countries by GDP (nominal)
  14. ^ Arab Countries Stumble in the Face of Growing Economic Crisis, http://carnegieendowment.org/publications/index.cfm?fa=view&id=23120&prog=zgp&proj=zie,zme
  15. ^ "Clip No. 426: excerpts from an interview with the former Secretary-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council Abdallah Bishara". TV Monitor Project, MEMRI. December 12, 2004. http://www.memritv.org/Transcript.asp?P1=426. Retrieved 2007-04-07. 

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