مجلس التعاون لدول الخليج العربية
Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (CCASG)
Map indicating CCASG members
|Membership||Arab states of the Persian Gulf (6)|
|-||Secretary-General||Abdul Rahman ibn Hamad al-Attiyah|
|-||As the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)||
May 25, 1981
1,031,935 sq mi
|Currency||see footnote 1|
|1||Common 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 organisation involving the six Arab states of the Persian Gulf with many economic and social objectives.
Oman and the UAE opted out of the monetary union, in 2007 and 2009 respectively, but are still members in the GCC.
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. 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.
Yemen is (currently[update]) in negotiations for GCC membership, and hopes to join by 2016. 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. 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.
A GCC common market was launched on January 1, 2008. 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.
Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar on December 15, 2009 announced the creation of a Monetary Council, a step toward establishing a shared currency. The board of the council, which will set a timetable for establishing a joint central bank and choose a currency regime, will meet for the first time on March 30, 2010.
Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed Sabah al-Salem al- Sabah said on December 8, 2009 that a single currency may take 10 years to establish. The original target was in 2010. (Source required).
On March 15, 2010 United Arab Emirates said it remains committed to the concept of a single currency, though free trade in the region must come first. The U.A.E., withdrew from the currency project in May of 2009 after the Saudi capital, Riyadh was selected as the location for the Monetary Council, the future central bank. The U.A.E. has no plans to rejoin the union project.
Among the stated objectives are:
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.. 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.
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.