GCC to do away with border curbs on goods

Gulf News, UAE

GCC to do away with border curbs on goods

Customs checks to focus on security and quarantine issues alone from next year as part of move to usher in unified market

By Abdul Rahman Shaheen, Correspondent

27 August 2010

Riyadh: The latest push to eliminate obstacles could help the Gulf Cooperation Council Customs Union ease transportation of goods and services across the region from next year.

"The union will enable the free movement of goods among the six GCC states without any restrictions," GCC secretary- general Abdul Rahman Al Attiyah said yesterday. He said this step was stipulated in the GCC Economic Agreement.

The secretary-general said the union will eliminate all the customs and other obstacles impeding the free movement of GCC and foreign goods among the member countries if these hurdles were not caused security or quarantine reasons.

"The GCC citizen will greatly benefit from the free movement of goods among the countries which will be available at competitive prices," he said.

According to Al Attiyah, the union will greatly boost the intra-trade with foreign countries through a unified market.

The secretary-general believes that the establishment of the union will boost the position of the GCC countries in the World Trade Organisation and will enable them to play an effective in deciding policies that contribute to world trade.

GCC ministers of foreign affairs, finance, economy, commerce and industry will meet in Jeddah on Wednesday to come out with mechanisms that would eliminate all hurdles facing the establishment of a GCC Customs Union which should be announced early 2011.

Economic and financial circles in the six-member states are looking forward towards the meeting which will pave the way for the establishment of a customs union before the GCC summit in Abu Dhabi later in the year.

"This meeting is in implementation to a resolution adopted by the 30th GCC summit in Kuwait. It was also recommended by the consultative talks between the GCC leaders in Riyadh recently," Al Attiyah said.

He said the ministers will also discuss negotiations with other countries and friendly economic groups. The GCC countries have concluded a number of free trade agreements with a number of countries.

Al Attiyah said the meeting will discuss the progress of the ongoing negotiations with other countries and economic blocks and the mechanisms needed to expedite them.

He hoped that the meeting would produce positive results and enable the member countries to overcome impediments against free movement of trade among them.