Secretary-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Abdulrahman Al-Attiyah opened in Riyadh today the Economic Dialogue Forum between the GCC and the European Commission. This meeting, he said, comes at a very important juncture, both within the GCC and in its relationship with the rest of the world. Internationally, the GCC is negotiating with a number of trading partners, the most important of which is the European Union. With the establishment of the GCC Customs Union, negotiations between the GCC and its trading partners have proceeded more easily, and GCC imports from the EU now account for over 35 percent of the total, with GCC exports to the EU at about 13 percent. Within GCC, the member states are closer than ever economically, after the Doha Summit approved two important documents, one establishing a common long-term oil strategy for the GCC states and the second adopting an emergency plan for oil shortages. In addition, integration of the GCC electricity grid is progressing according to plan, and studies are under way for integration of water desalination projects, and for construction of an oil pipeline for GCC oil from the Arabian Gulf to the Arabian Sea.