Created on May 25, 1981, the 630 million-acre Council comprises the Persian Gulf States of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, plus Saudi Arabia. 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 Gulf Cooperative Countries
Not all of the countries neighboring the Persian Gulf are members of the council. Iran is excluded, as is Iraq, although both nations have a coastline on the Persian Gulf. Yemen is in negotiations for GCC membership, and hopes to join by 2016.
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.
All GCC members and Yemen have recently joined the Greater Arab Free Trade Area (GAFTA) when that organization was founded. 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.
Among the stated objectives of the Council 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;
- encouraging cooperation of the private sector;
- strengthening ties between their peoples; and
- establishing a common currency by 2010 (The name "Khaleeji" has been proposed as a name for this currency.)
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 is also planning to submit its application for the Doha 2016 Olympic bid|2016 Summer Olympic Games.
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.
OER in Gulf States
It was originally intended in POERUP to produce one unified report on OER in Gulf States. However, because of the differences between them and the range of expertise needed to analyse them, we have produced separate reports for each country. We also were offered a report on Saudi Arabia, a member of the Gulf Cooperation Council, but not one of the Gulf States in our original conception of them.
See the individual entries:
- Bahrain - detailed report at Media:OER_in_Bahrain.pdf
- Kuwait - detailed report at Media:OER_in_Kuwait.pdf
- Oman - detailed report at Media:OER_in_Oman.pdf
- Qatar - detailed report at Media:OER_in_Qatar.pdf
- United Arab Emirates - detailed report at Media:OER_in_UAE_edited.pdf
- Saudi Arabia - detailed report at Media:OER_in_Saudi_Arabia.pdf