The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) was established in 1981 at Riyadh to foster a regional, inter-governmental, political, socio-economic union and security comprising all the Arab states in the Persian Gulf except Iraq. The Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf has Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. The sole purpose of the GCC is to achieve unity and secure common objectives, with their similar political ambitions, cultural identities with are deep-rooted in the Arab and Islamic cultures, deliver regional stability and security.
A Glance at the Gulf Cooperation Council
The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is a trade bloc officially removing the administrative hurdles in trading across borders, living and studying in the member countries the official language of GCC is Arabic. The citizens of the member countries are allowed to move freely and carry out trade in their own currencies freely with least regulations or restrictions by the creation of customs unions and trade markets. The GCC also has a defense planning council that coordinates military training and cooperation between the member nations.
These GCC regions of the Arabian Peninsula are one the fastest growing economies in the world, chiefly due to boom in the oil & gas exploration, and extraction. The industry’s revenues being predominant sources of income granting a solid foundation for the investment boom that created world-class cities with extensive facilities, and developed solid economic infrastructure for sustained development in the regions. Diversified investment in various sectors apart from oil & gas sector has been carried out the respective member states in the GCC council in order to reduce the reliance on the oil revenues and devise a strategy for long-term development.
Structure of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)
Top decision-making group that meets once in a year and it comprises of the GCC heads of the states.
The Ministerial Council comprises of foreign ministers and other ministers, who meet every 3 months to propose policies and execute decisions.
The Secretariat-General is the administrative body that organizes the meeting and observes the enactment of policies.
The Consultative Commission advises the Supreme Council and it comprises five representatives from each member state.
Commission for the Settlement of Disputes
The Commission for the Settlement of Disputes is formed to look for diplomatic solutions to problems that arise within the member states.
The Secretary-General is appointed by the Supreme Council for three years. The term can be renewed only once. The current role has been filled since 2011 by Abdullatif bin Rashid al-Zayani, a retired Bahraini lieutenant general.
The Monetary Council is responsible for creating a unified currency regime with an original target of common currency, which could take around 10 more years to fructify.
GCC Patent Office
The GCC Patent Office was approved in 1992 and established in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Applications are filed in Arabic with separate offices in each member.
Peninsula Shield Force
The Peninsula Shield Force was created in 1984 as the combined military arms to respond, and deter against any aggression on the GCC member states.
Currencies in GCC
- Bahraini Dinar (BHD)
- Kuwaiti Dinar (KWD)
- Omani Riyal (OMR)
- Qatari Riyal (QAR)
- Saudi Riyal (SAR)
- Emirati Dirham (AED)
Relationship with Neighboring Countries
Future membership of Jordan, Morocco, and Yemen have been in the discussion. The GCC calls for a greater cooperation and proposal for a tighter coordination among the “Gulf Union” in economic, political and military aspects forwarded by Saudi Arabia to counter-balance the shift of power with Iranian influence.
What’s in the Store for GCC 2019
After the GCC 2018 held in Riyadh earlier this month, the next GCC Summit 2019 was informed to be hosted by UAE in Dubai. The economic and political significance of GCC has grown to whole new levels as the member nations are open to investments, high-tech development and diversification of the economy in different sectors.
Despite the lingering diplomatic issues in GCC the strengthening of the joint security and defense, the seven-point Riyadh Declaration called for a roadmap towards further integration of economy, joint foreign policy to preserve the GCC’s interest and avoid regional and international conflict was placed at the top of the agenda for the GCC summit. The majority of the GCC members are concerned about their dependence on oil with a crude and natural gas-based economy they are keen on driving an unprecedented change in the development and diversification of the economy.
UAE is Hosting the GCC 2019
The 40th session of the GCC Summit will be held in the UAE, according to the communique issued at the 39th summit in Riyadh. The GCC Supreme Council welcomed the UAE’s hosting of the next summit, and issued the “Riyadh Declaration” comprising 72 items covering matters related to Gulf countries, the region and international relations. The key issues that are to be implemented in GCC 2019 are:
- Securing the regions from the emerging risks, threats to the security & stability of the region and improve, resolve the economic challenges it faces
- Enhancing collective actions and mobilization of the resources with common energies to address the risks and challenges, thereby meeting the aspirations of the citizens of GCC
- To accomplish amplified coordination, integration, and interdependence among the member states in all the fields to reach their unity and enhance bond links, among the people in various ways
- Focus on the adoption of common laws, regulations and strategies to ensure a greater cooperation, interoperability and promise for a greater acceleration of the gulf joint action in terms of economic, political and security in line with the changes in the international terms
- Completion of the projects and programs that ultimately honor the visionary of Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz in integration to boost the regional and international role of GCC
- Addressing all the obstacles to achieve economic integration by 2025 and complete the requirement for the creation of the common market and customs union
- Appointment of a commander for the GCC joint military command and advance towards completion of a joint defense system, while underlining the GCC’s role in addressing extreme ideologies through the promotion of moderation, tolerance, human rights rule of sharia law and terrorism
- The leaders of GCC member states also called for forming a single and effective foreign policy based on the statue
- Issues related to the final declaration in Arabic and Islamic dossiers
Given the agendas for the meet and the legacy of the GCC summits, it appears this one would be a monumental step, favouring the economic growth of UAE as well as the rest of the GCC. With the collective efforts towards Dubai Vision 2020 and the World Expo in the same year, the prospects for business setup in Dubai look nothing short of promising.