Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf

Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf
Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (CCASG)
مجلس التعاون لدول الخليج العربية
Map indicating CCASG members
Map indicating CCASG members
Headquarters Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Official languages Arabic
Type Trade bloc
 -  Secretary General Bahrain Dr. Abdul Latif Bin Rashid Al Zayani
 -  Supreme Council Presidency United Arab Emirates
 -  As the GCC May 25, 1981 
 -  Total 2,423,300 km2 
935,641 sq mi 
 -  Water (%) negligible
 -  2008 estimate 38,600,000[1] 
 -  Density 14.44/km2 
37.4/sq mi
GDP (nominal) 2008 estimate
 -  Total $1.037 trillion 
 -  Per capita $22,200 
Currency Khaleeji (proposed)

The Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (CCASG; Arabic: مجلس التعاون لدول الخليج العربية‎), also known as the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC; مجلس التعاون الخليجي), is a political and economic union of the Arab states bordering the Persian Gulf and constituting the Arabian Peninsula, namely Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates. Jordan and Morocco have been invited to join the council.[2]



Created on May 25, 1981, the original Council comprised the 630-million-acre (2,500,000 km2) Persian Gulf states of the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait. The unified economic agreement between the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council was signed on November 11, 1981 in Abu Dhabi. These countries are often referred to as The GCC States.


Among the stated objectives 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;
  • unified military presence (Peninsula Shield Force)
  • encouraging cooperation of the private sector;
  • strengthening ties between their peoples; and
  • establishing a common currency by 2010;[3][4][5][6]
However, Oman announced in December 2006 it would not be able to meet the target date. Following the announcement that the central bank for the monetary union would be located in Riyadh and not in the UAE, the UAE announced their withdrawal from the monetary union project in May 2009. The name Khaleeji has been proposed as a name for this currency. If realised, the GCC monetary union would be the third most important supranational monetary union in the world in terms of GDP, after the euro area, and the unofficial monetary union between the United States and the few Latin American countries that have declared the US dollar as their currency (such as Ecuador)[4]

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 also submitted an unsuccessful application for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. However, Qatar was later chosen to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

In 2006, its nominal GDP 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. See List of countries by GDP (nominal) per capita.

Recently[when?], the leaders of the Council have come under fire for doing too little to combat the economic downturn. While GCC countries were among the first hit - and the first to respond to the crisis - their programs have been prone to disparities, and they have placed their region on the brink of even deeper crises. Recovery plans have been criticized for crowding out the private sector, failing to set clear priorities for growth, failing to restore weak consumer and investor confidence, and undermining long-term stability.[7]

The logo of the GCC consists of two concentric circles. On the upper part of the larger circle, the Bismillah phrase is written in Arabic. On the lower part of that circle, the Council's full name is written in Arabic. The inner circle contains an embossed hexagonal shape representing the Council's six member countries. The inside of the hexagon is filled by a map encompassing the Arabian Peninsula, on which the areas of the member countries are colored brown.


Patent Office

The GCC Patent Office was approved in 1992 and established soon after in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.[8] Applications are filed and prosecuted in the Arabic language before the GCC Patent Office in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, which is a separate office from the Saudi Arabian Patent Office. A GCC Patent cannot co-exist with a national application in any of the member states, therefore, a national application must be relinquished within 90 days of filing the GCC Patent Application.

Common Market

A GCC common market was launched on January 1, 2008.[9] 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. A customs union was declared in 2003, but practical implementation has lagged behind. Indeed, shortly afterwards, Bahrain concluded a separate Free Trade Agreement with the USA, in effect cutting through the GCC's agreement, and causing much friction.

Monetary Council

Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar on December 15, 2009 announced the creation of a Monetary Council, a step toward establishing a shared currency. The board of the council, which will set a timetable for establishing a joint central bank and choose a currency regime, will meet for the first time on March 30, 2010. Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed Sabah al-Salem al- Sabah said on December 8, 2009 that a single currency may take up to 10 years to establish. The original target was in 2010. Oman and the UAE later announced their withdrawal of the proposed currency until further notice.

Peninsula Shield Force

Amidst the 2011 Bahraini protests, Gulf Cooperation Council forces from Saudi Arabia and the UAE were sent to Bahrain in March 2011.[10][11][12]


  • Abdullah Bishara,[13] Kuwait, 26 May 1981 — April 1993
  • Fahim bin Sultan al-Qasimi, United Arab Emirates, April 1993 — April 1996
  • Jamil bin Ibrahim al-Hujailan, Saudi Arabia, April 1996 — 31 March 2002
  • AbdulRahman bin Hamad al-Attiyah, Qatar, 1 April 2002 - 31 March 2011
  • Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani, Bahrain, 1 April 2011 to Present

Member states

There are six member states of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (CCASG) or Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

Common name
Official name (English) Official name (Arabic) Type of government
Bahrain Bahrain Kingdom of Bahrain Mamlakat al-Baḥrayn Constitutional Monarchy
Kuwait Kuwait State of Kuwait Dawlat al-Kuwayt Constitutional Monarchy
Oman Oman Sultanate of Oman Salṭanat ʻUmān Absolute Monarchy
Qatar Qatar State of Qatar Dawlat Qaṭar Absolute Monarchy
Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia Kingdom of Saudi Arabia al-Mamlaka al-ʻArabiyya as-Suʻūdiyya Absolute Monarchy
United Arab Emirates United Arab Emirates State of the United Arab Emirates Dawlat al-Imārāt al-‘Arabīyah al-Muttaḥidah Federal Monarchy (elective de jure, hereditary de facto)

Macro-economic trend

Year GDP (in millions) GDP Per Capita
(as % of USA)
1980 $250,675 152.00
1985 $183,069 60.19
1990 $207,735 41.28
1995 $261,072 37.10
2000 $375,483 36.26
2005 $664,582 45.19
2010 $1,084,647 56.56

Related states

Since the creation of the council in 1981 its membership has not expanded, with all members being Arab monarchies.[14] Iran and Iraq, who also border the Persian Gulf, are not members. The associate membership of Iraq in certain GCC-related institutions was discontinued after the invasion of Kuwait.[15]

The GCC has land borders with Iraq, Jordan and Yemen.


The associate membership of Iraq in certain GCC-related institutions was discontinued after the invasion of Kuwait.[15] The GCC States have announced that they support the Document of The International Compact with Iraq that was adopted at Sharm El-Sheikh on 4–5 May 2007. It calls for regional economic integration with the neighboring states. Currently, many observers think that there is a very low possibility of Iraqi accession to the GCC, but this could change in the future as Iraq develops the production of its oil resources.[16]


Yemen is (currently) in negotiations for GCC membership, and hopes to join by 2016. Although it has no coastline on the Persian Gulf, Yemen is on the Arabian peninsula and shares a common culture and history with other members of the GCC.[17] The GCC has already approved Yemen's accession to the GCC Standardization Authority, Gulf Organization for Industrial Consultancy, GCC Auditing and Accounting Authority, Gulf Radio and TV Authority, GCC Council of Health Ministers, GCC Education and Training Bureau, GCC Council of Labour & and Social Affairs Ministers, and Gulf Cup Football Tournament. The Council issued directives that all the necessary legal measures be taken so that Yemen would have the same rights and obligations of GCC member states in those institutions.[18]

Jordan and Morocco

In May 2011 requests by Jordan and Morocco to join were welcomed by the members of the GCC, who supported both requests for membership.[19] In September 2011 a five year economic plan for both countries was put forward after a meeting between the foreign ministers of both countries and those of the GCC states, the first GCC meeting since May which included the Jordanian and Moroccan ministers. Although a plan for accession was being looked into, it was noted that there was no timetable for either's ascension, and that discussions would continue.[14]

As Jordan and Morocco are the only two Arab monarchies not currently in the Council, the current members see them as strong potential allies. Jordan borders member Saudi Arabia and is economically connected to the Gulf States. Although Morocco is not near the gulf, the Moroccan foreign minister Taeib Fassi Fihri notes that "geographical distance is no obstacle to a strong relationship".[14]

Related organizations

The GCC members and Yemen are also members of the Greater Arab Free Trade Area (GAFTA). 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.

See also


  1. ^ Talk:Arabian Peninsula#the Population wikipedia. Retrieved 2008.
  2. ^ Alsharif, Asma (2011-05-10). "1-Gulf bloc to consider Jordan, Morocco membership". Reuters. Retrieved 2011-05-10. 
  3. ^ [|Khan, Mohsin S.] (April 2009) (PDF). The GCC Monetary Union: Choice of Exchange Rate Regime. Washington DC, USA: Peterson Institute for International Economics. Retrieved 2009-05-11. 
  4. ^ a b [|Sturm, Michael]; [|Siegfried, Nikolaus] (June 2005) (PDF). Regional Monetary Integration in the Member States of the Gulf Cooperation Council. Frankfurt am Main, Germany: European Central Bank. ISSN 1725-6534. Occasional Paper Series, No. 31. Retrieved 2009-05-11. 
  5. ^ [|Abed, George T.]; [|Erbas, S. Nuri]; Guerami, Behrouz (April 1, 2003) (PDF). The GCC Monetary Union: Some Considerations for the Exchange Rate Regime. Washington DC, USA: International Monetary Fund (IMF). ISSN 1934-7073. Working Paper No. 03/66. Retrieved 2009-05-11. 
  6. ^ Gulf Currency
  7. ^ Arab Countries Stumble in the Face of Growing Economic Crisis,,zme
  8. ^ "GCC Patent Office page of the GCC website". Retrieved 2008-02-12. 
  9. ^ Arab Times :: GCC states to launch joint market today
  10. ^ (ABC News Australia)
  11. ^ (CNN)
  12. ^ Gulf forces intervene in Bahrain after violent clashes
  13. ^ "Clip No. 426: excerpts from an interview with the former Secretary-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council Abdallah Bishara". TV Monitor Project, MEMRI. December 12, 2004. Retrieved 2007-04-07. [dead link]
  14. ^ a b c "GCC discusses economic plan for Jordan, Morocco". Yahoo!. 11 September 2011. Retrieved 18 September 2011. 
  15. ^ a b see GCC statement on Media Cooperation
  16. ^ see Political Affairs
  17. ^ "Yemen hopeful to join GCC in 2016". Yemen Times. December 19, 2006. Retrieved 2007-04-07. 
  18. ^ see The Closing Statement of the Twenty Second Session GCC The Final Communiqué of The 29th Session
  19. ^ Mu Xuequan (11 May 2011). "GCC welcomes Jordan's request to join the council". Xinhua. Retrieved 19 September 2011. 

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