Cooperation council for the arab states of the gulf

مجلس التعاون لدول الخليج
Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (CCASG)
Map indicating CCASG members.
HeadquartersSaudi Arabia Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Official languages Arabic
Type Trade bloc
 -  Secretary General Bahrain A. bin Rashid Al Zayani
 -  Supreme Council Presidency  Bahrain
 -  As the GCC 25 May 1981 
 -  Total 2,673,108 km2
1,032,093 sq mi
 -  Water (%) 0.6
 -  2012 estimate 42,100,000a
 -  Density 17.37/km2
45/sq mi
GDP (nominal) 2011 estimate
 -  Total $1.386 trillion
 -  Per capita $33,005
Currency Khaleeji (proposed)
a. Sum of component states' populations.

The Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (CCASG; Arabic: مجلس التعاون لدول الخليج العربية‎ ), also known as the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCCمجلس التعاون الخليجي), is a political and economic union of Arab states bordering the Persian Gulf, namely Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.[1][2]

In December 2011, Saudi Arabia proposed that the GCC deepen their integration to form a confederation.[3] Objections have been raised against the proposal by the other countries.[4][5]

There have been discussions regarding the future membership of Jordan, Morocco, and Yemen.[6][7]


Established in Abu Dhabi on 25 May 1981,[8] 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 11 November 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 religious, 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.[9][10][11][12]
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 second largest supranational monetary union in the world, measured by GDP of the common-currency area.[10]

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 hundreds of billions dollars of assets under management.

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. Qatar was later chosen to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Recently, 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. 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.[13]

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 and on the lower part the Council's full name, 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 shown in brown.


Patent Office

Main article: GCC Patent Office

The GCC Patent Office was approved in 1992 and established soon after in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.[14] 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 1 January 2008.[15] 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 US, in effect cutting through the GCC's agreement, and causing much friction.

Monetary Council

On 15 December 2009, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia 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 30 March 2010. Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed Sabah al-Salem al-Sabah said on 8 December 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, Kuwait[16] and the UAE were sent to Bahrain in March 2011.[17][18][19]


  • 26 May 1981 — April 1993, Abdullah Bishara, Kuwait[20]
  • April 1993 — April 1996, Fahim bin Sultan Al Qasimi, United Arab Emirates[21]
  • April 1996 — 31 March 2002, Jamil Ibrahim Hejailan, Saudi Arabia[22]
  • 1 April 2002 - 31 March 2011, AbdulRahman bin Hamad al-Attiyah, Qatar[23]
  • 1 April 2011 – present, Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani, Bahrain

Member States

There are six member states of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (CCASG) (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 Constitutional monarchy
Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Al-Mamlaka al-ʻArabiyya as-Suʻūdiyya Absolute monarchy
United Arab Emirates UAE United Arab Emirates 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 US)
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.[24]

Some GCC countries have land borders with Iraq, Jordan and Yemen.


Iraq is the only Arab country bordering the Persian Gulf that is not a member of the council. The associate membership of Iraq was discontinued in 1990 after its invasion of Kuwait in the First Gulf War.[25][26][27] In 2009, it was reported that Iraq was set to join the cartel of the GCC Chambers of Commerce.[28]

In 2012, Iraqi Defense Minister Saadoun al-Dulaimi stated that Iraq wants to join the GCC.[29] Kuwait supports Iraq joining the GCC.[30]


At the December 2012 Manama summit, the GCC states called for an end to Iranian interference in their internal affairs.[31]

Jordan and Morocco

In May 2011, Jordan's request to join the GCC, which had been first submitted 15 years earlier, was accepted and Morocco was invited to join the union.[32][33][34] 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 accession, and that discussions would continue.[24]

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 Persian Gulf States. Although Morocco is not near the Persian Gulf, the Moroccan foreign minister Taeib Fassi Fihri notes that "geographical distance is no obstacle to a strong relationship".[24]


Yemen is (currently) in negotiations for GCC membership, and hopes to join by 2015. 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.[7] The GCC has already approved Yemen's accession to the GCC Standardization Authority, Gulf Organization for Industrial Consulting (GOIC),[35] 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.[36]

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


External links

  • The Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf - Secretariat General
  • The Gulf Organization for Industrial Consulting (GOIC)