The Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf, also known as the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), is a political and economic alliance between six Middle Eastern countries, including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates. In May 1981, the GCC was established in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. It is an intergovernmental, regional, political, and economic union between these nations. The purpose of the GCC is to establish unity among the member nations based on common objectives and their similar Islamic cultural identities. The council’s main headquarters is located in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and the presidency of the council rotates annually.
The member states of the GCC enjoy many benefits owing to this cooperation, and it has helped in the economic growth of the nations. One of the main reasons is the growth in businesses of these nations owing to the combined efforts made by the member countries to open up the borders for business and by streamlining the processes. Here are a few benefits of business cooperation between the Arab Gulf countries.
1. Visa-Free Access
Citizens of GCC countries can greatly benefit from the cooperation as they get visa-free access to Saudi Arabia, which is the country with the most restricted visa policies in the world.
Citizens of every single country that comes under the GCC get visa-free access to the nations that come under the GCC, which means when you go for business in any Gulf country, you will not feel like a stranger. Instead, you will feel like a citizen yourself.
If a Saudi is in Kuwait, then he feels like a Kuwaiti, and if a Kuwaiti goes to Qatar, he feels like a Qatari. This helps to do business in other nations easier.
2. No Custom Duties
Another business benefit due to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is that it has led to the free movement of national goods between these six countries without any customs duties. If you are aware, custom duties increase the business expense and also narrow down the consumer market for the product because of high price markup. Removing that completely is highly beneficial for the business as the expenditure reduces to import goods to a nation, and a lower price markup helps increase the customer base.
3. Faster Import and Export
Due to the business cooperation between countries, many reforms have been made over the years, improving each nation’s business prospects under the GCC. Recently, they have enhanced the electronic trade single window that makes import and export faster. Introducing an online platform for the certification of imported goods makes the entire process faster. Further, they have enhanced the customs risk management system and implemented a new electronic clearance system, which has sped up the import and export, which is profitable for businesses.
4. Higher Economic and Non-Economic Achievements
There is no doubt about the fact that the GCC has achieved a number of economic and non-economic achievements over the past 40 years. Each member has greatly contributed to the advancement of trade between the member states. Emphasizing critical ideologies like the rights of minority investors, improving credit access, and streamlining business registration processes are examples of how business cooperation pushes these countries towards higher economic and non-economic achievements.
In fact, not just the usual business but visa-free access to these states have made it possible for other state businesses to bloom, such as the Casino market has seen exponential growth recently owing to the cooperation as the borders between these states have gotten diluted due to GCC. These profits also improve the economy as it opens up employment and adds up to the nation’s income. When accessing physical casinos becomes tough, people also explore the option of online casinos operated from these states, which again adds up to the profits and improves the economy.
5. Advanced Reforms Introduced
Different nations involved in the GCC bring reforms to it, which makes the process streamlined and quite up-to-date. For example, a few noticeable reforms brought about by nations are;
- Saudi Arabia has eliminated the requirement for married women to provide additional documentation when they apply for a national identity card. It has helped enhance the electronic trade single window, which makes the import-export faster.
- Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, and Oman have introduced reforms to strengthen the rights of minority shareholders.
- Kuwait has implemented a new electronic clearance system to make trading across borders easier.
- Qatar has introduced an online portal to receive and review applications.
The Bottom Line
The stronger relationships between GCC countries, especially on the economic and commercial trade levels, are advantageous for all the nations involved in this equation. Further, the GCC also has a defense planning council whose core job is to coordinate military cooperation between the member countries, which plays a vital role in strengthening these nations.