30 December 2020: The General Secretariat of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC) announced today that the Secretary General H.E. Dr. Nayef Falah Al-Hajraf, delivered today a formal invitation from the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, to His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the Amir of Qatar, to attend the 41st GCC Summit being held in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on January 5, 2021.
H.H. Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Amir of the State of Qatar, received the Secretary General of the Cooperation Council at the Amiri Court in Doha Palace today.
The Secretary-General of the GCC, H.E. Dr. Nayef Falah Al-Hajraf, said: “I had the honor to personally deliver King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud’s invitation to H.H. Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the Amir of Qatar to attend the 41st GCC Summit taking place in Saudi Arabia on January 5, 2021, I would like to take this opportunity to thank His Highness for his unequivocal support to strengthening the cooperation council and broaden its horizon.”
In his post-meeting speech, H.E. the Secretary General added: “The 41st summit marks the beginning of a new chapter for the GCC as it enters its fifth decade.The GCC’s focus today is on meeting the ambitions of the region’s young and digital population, and enabling them to compete and lead in a globally-connected post-pandemic world, through joint efforts to restore economic growth in the region, resume free trade negotiations, and strengthen strategic partnerships with friendly countries.”
The 41st Summit marks the beginning of a new chapter for the GCC as it enters its fifth decade with economic integration and cooperation being a key objective since the council’s formation in 1981. Beginning in 1983, member states gradually began implementing unified GCC policies to facilitate intra-GCC businesses, such as tariff waivers for intra-GCC trade, and culminated in the creation of a GCC Customs Union in 2003 and the introduction of a unified customs tariff on inter-GCC imports. These two landmark policies set the foundation for the establishment of the GCC Common Market in January 2008, and for the introduction of policies that granted Gulf citizens equal treatment across member states in businesses licensing and businesses activities.
The GCC is one of the biggest economic blocs with a GDP of USD 1.6 trillion and exports amounting to USD 609.5 Billion, making it the sixth-largest exporter in the world. In its fifth decade, the GCC countries will focus on restoring economic growth in the region after the pandemic, overcoming its challenges, and resuming free trade negotiations and strategic partnerships with friendly countries. The council will also seek to enhance its competitiveness at the global stage by adopting modern methods and harnessing them to form new horizons of desired cooperation.
Below highlights some of the key achievements of the Gulf Cooperation Council over the past four decades:
- Establishing the GCC Commercial Arbitration Center.
- Establishing the GCC Standardization Organization (GSO) which prepares, approves, and publishes GCC products' standards.
- Applying equal treatment to all GCC citizens in the field of stock ownership, company corporation, and elimination of relevant restrictions across GCC member states.
- Permitting Gulf companies to have branches in GCC states, and receive equal treatment to local companies.
- Establishing and operating the GCC Interconnected Power Grid in 2014.
- Providing intellectual property protection and promotion of innovation and creativity through the establishment of the Patent Office of the GCC.
- The GCC initiative to resolve the Yemeni crisis in 2011; the ensuing implementation mechanisms to restore the legitimacy of the Yemeni government and condemn the actions of the Houthi coup.
- Continued support for the end of disputed territories between the United Arab Emirates and Iran.
- Contributing to the international coalition against ISIS and radical terrorist organizations by funding initiatives that confront terrorism and extremism.