The United States and the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC) held their tenth plenary meeting of the U.S.-GCC Economic Dialogue in Washington, D.C., October 24-25, 2000. The session was opened by U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce Robert Mallett. The U.S. side was co-chaired by Under Secretary of State for Economic, Business, and Agricultural affairs Alan Larson and Counselor to the Department of Commerce Jan H. Kalicki. The GCC side was chaired by Coordinator General for Negotiations Dr. Jobarah Al-Suraisry.
The U.S.-GCC Economic Dialogue, established in 1985, is the primary vehicle through which the GCC and the United States discuss trade and investment issues, commercial reforms, and ways to expand their commercial and economic relationship. In recent years, the Dialogue has included greater private sector involvement and has contributed to promoting mutual commercial interests in the region. Representatives of the U.S. and GCC private sectors have begun a complementary program to the Dialogue. At this session, they reported on the work they have underway to enhance cooperation among the GCC chambers of commerce and the third American business groups in the region, including their planned formation of a. U.S.-GCC business forum, holding a U.S.-GCC business conference in Washington in the autumn of 2001, and the development of a joint paper on the opportunity and obstacles to doing business with each other. The Dialogue participants welcomed the contribution of the U.S. and GCC private sectors in expanding standards cooperation.
The Dialogue focused principally on ways to intensify economic cooperation between the two regions and to increase two way trade and investment. Toward these goals, the delegates noted the GCC states’ new investment laws and regulations and welcomed ratification of the U.S.-Bahrain bilateral investment treaty (BIT). The delegates also congratulated Oman on its accession to the WTO and supported accession by Saudi Arabia.
The Dialogue participants welcomed progress in agreement to reciprocal exemption from taxation of international transportation income. They also welcomed progress by the GCC States in the area of intellectual property protection and agreed on the need for full TRIPs compliance.
The participants noted the impact of globalization on the GCC States. They also discussed how E-Commerce is a tool that facilitates entrance into the world market and the principles which the United States seeks in joint statements on E-Commerce. The United States welcomes the GCC’s important progress toward economic integration, including its commitment to a customs union by 2005, and finalized with the GCC a joint paper on economic cooperation between the two sides and economic integration among the GCC countries.