Ministry of Finance: Characteristics and advantages of Gulf Common Market

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Ministry of Finance (MoF) organised an introductory meeting at the United Arab Emirates University at Al Ain to present the characteristics and advantages Gulf Common market (GCM) and the strategic role played by the UAE in this regard. The meeting was attended by Dr. Abdul Aziz Bin Hamad Aluwaisheg, Director General of International Economic Relations at the GCC General Secretariat along with the Dean of the Faculty of Administration and Economy at the university, a number of faculty members and 200 students. The meeting is part of MoF tasks to monitor the proper functioning of GCM in the UAE, and its efforts to raise awareness and enhance communication with various stakeholders regarding GCM.

HE Younis Haji Al Khoori, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Finance assured that the initiative comes to complement the efforts of the United Arab Emirates and the Ministry of Finance to raise awareness and knowledge about the importance of the Gulf Common Market and its positive implications on GCC citizens, institutions and macroeconomics of all member states. As well as the ability of GCC economic citizenship to enhance bilateral trade between the GCC and raises the competitiveness of this economic bloc at international forums.

“We continue to communicate and coordinate with various entities inside and outside the UAE to secure optimal implementation of the Council of Ministers resolutions relating to GCM. These resolutions maintain the positive progress of work; find more opportunities for cooperation and exchanges at UAE and GCC levels. As the federal authority meant to monitor the proper functioning of GCM, MoF believe in the equal treatment of GCC natural and legal citizens in all member states and promotes avoidance of discrimination in all economy related areas,” Al Khoori added.

The presentation of Dr. Aluwaisheg about the main stages of GCM project covered the approval of the GCM principle, timetable for its implementation, GCM declaration, implementation phase, monitoring and evaluation. He touched on the important role played by liaison officers who help citizens by providing information related to GCC Supreme Council resolutions. The officers also provide information about the relevant national legislations and the competent authorities in each area. He clarified that the liaison officers are responsible of raising awareness about GCC Council resolutions and relevant executive decisions. The officers follow up with inquiries and complaints to competent authorities of member states and the GCC General Secretariat. He also dealt with the roles of GCM, Financial & Economic Cooperation and other ministerial committees such as the Committee of Ministers of Interior, Trade Cooperation Committee (Ministers of Commerce), Committee of Ministers of Higher Education, Committee of Ministers of Labour and the Committee of Ministers of Civil Service. He clarified the roles of GCC authorities responsible of monitoring the proper progressing of GCM such as Arab Bureau of Education of Gulf states, the Executive Office of Health Ministers in GCC countries and the Executive Office of the Ministers of Labour and Social Affairs.

Dr. Aluwaisheg revisited the positive implications of GCM on GCC citizens, corporations, institutions and macroeconomics of member states. He clarified that the Gulf Common Market opens a wider range of investment connections, optimizes the use of economic resources and improves the negotiating position of the GCC States. The GCM 2010 results showed an increase in the number of beneficiaries of the insurance umbrella up to 15,000 GCC citizens, while the number of workers in the private sector outside their countries was 35,000. The number of investors and properties owners reached to 40,000 and 61,000 citizens respectively. Public shareholding companies in which GCC citizens have shares were 650 while the joint ventures were 1500. The number of GCC students being education in other GCC countries than their place of birth was 50,000. Aluwaisheg also reviewed recommendations related to expanding the scope of work, updating of national legislations, strengthening the mechanisms of settlements (the judiciary authority) and raising the awareness about rights and opportunities offered by the market.

Mr. Ibrahim Hassan Rashid Al Jarwan, Head of GCC & Arab Countries at MoF, highlighted economic issues related to GCM such as transportation, residency, employment in government and private sectors, practicing professions and trades, real estate ownership, capital movement, trading and buying stock and establishing companies. He shed the light on benefits gained from educational, health and social services.

MoF presentation reviewed Ministerial Decree No (2/94) for the year 2008 on the approval of GCM declaration with effect from 1.1.2008. The presentation touched on selecting MoF to monitor the progress of GCM related activity, in addition to the Ministerial Decree No (4/329) for the year 2009 ratifying the adoption of GCM document approved by GCC Supreme Council. The presentation reviewed the role of UAE local authorities in issuing legal instruments and practical measures meant to implement the resolutions of GCC Supreme Council including GCM document. As a commitment to these two decrees, the GCM related authorities in the UAE issued more than 25 executive resolutions to ensure full equality of employment rights among GCC citizens, equal treatment of GCC workers in the private sector and in all procedures of the Ministry of Labour. The UAE applies provisions of Insurance Protection Extension System for GCC citizens and allows them to undertake all economic activity and professions, trading in shares, establishing joint stock companies and owning property for housing and investment purposes.

Al Jarwan also touched on the functioning of the GCM and the follow up and application mechanism. MoF has formed a team of liaison officers from relevant authorities, holds workshops and seminars and manages the website and e-system for GCM complaints, queries and suggestions. MoF initiatives to support the GCM include the formation of the GCM Committee and proposing its functions, preparing GCM documents for approval and creating a GCC mechanism for resolving obstacles. It submitted a paper for developing the GCM that covered activating and supporting the benefits, opportunities and advantages of the market

Mr. Ibrahim Al-Jarwan and Dr. Abdulaziz Bin Hamad Aluwaisheg responded to all questions and inquiries of students who participated in the meeting. MoF thanked UAE University for their reception and interest in spreading awareness about GCM issues, raising the level of work and maintaining UAE’s position at the forefront of GCC countries committed to the GCM.

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