The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) announced the establishment of a common market beginning in January 2008.
The GCC made the announcement its 28th summit in Doha, Qatar yesterday. Saudi Arabia’s delegation to the summit was led by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz.
According to the Doha Declaration, the common market will allow the citizens of GCC countries to benefit from opportunities in the Gulf economy and increase investment. It also intends to increase production efficiency, utilize available resources effectively and enhance the GCC’s negotiating abilities among international economic groups.
The common market allows GCC citizens to participate in all economic, investment and services activities; practice professions and craftsmanship; deal and purchase shares; establish companies; work in government and private sectors; collect social insurance and retirement; own real estate; transfer capital; and benefit from education, health and social services. It also covers customs and residency.
Also in attendance at was Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, the first Iranian president to attend a GCC summit. In an address yesterday, President Ahmedinejad presented a 12-point program to promote relations between Iran and the GCC. He offered to sign a security pact with GCC nations and proposed forming an organization to improve economic cooperation between Iran and the GCC, in addition to working toward a free trade agreement.
GCC leaders welcomed President Ahmedinejad’s proposals and said that they would be reviewed.
The GCC comprises Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman.