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Boosting Economic Integration among Gulf States Promotes Sustainable Growth

Boosting Economic Integration among Gulf States Promotes Sustainable Growth

Tuesday, 5 January, 2021 - 09:30
Ranking 13th among the world's largest economies, the GCC controls a large proportion of global oil production (Photo: Khaled Al-Khamis)

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is home to one of the world’s most vital economic groups, given the union’s tremendous capabilities and strong energy and trade sectors. The combined GDP of GCC states reached $1.64 trillion in 2019.


All six GCC states continue to develop economic interdependence through implementing a host of measures, the most important of which is working towards realizing a fully integrated single market by launching a common market.


Having a common market has eased the movement of goods and services and increased competition within GCC markets. Economies of Gulf states enjoy a broad ability to draw on multiple strengths that include natural resources, geographical location and human resources.


Intensive and coordinated efforts have been poured into ensuring the smooth flow of goods and services between GCC states.


Correcting mechanisms aimed at removing any obstacles or barriers that may hinder growth of intra-Gulf trade exchanges have also been put in motion alongside trade-boosting initiatives.


With economic blocs and trade alliances based on principals of free trade dominating the global scene, the GCC has a golden opportunity to enhance the commercial weight of its member states and achieve sustainable growth rates.


Ranking 13th among the world's largest economies, the GCC controls a large proportion of global oil production. The total spending of the GCC countries in 2019 was about $ 559.9 billion, while revenues were about $ 527.8 billion.


In 2019, intra-commodity trade in the exports sector totaled around $ 91.3 billion and oil exports reached $ 401.9 billion, according to data published by the GCC Statistical Center.


Non-oil exports for the year 2019 amounted to about $ 102 billion, the re-export sector scored about $ 105.6 billion, and the volume of exports of goods and services amounted to about $ 961.1 billion.


Gulf countries have tackled repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic through a number of financial, monetary and health initiatives to protect their economies. They have also drafted plans to diversify their economies and move away from dependence on oil.


The integration of GCC economies is based on liberalizing the movement of factors of production, removing all trade barriers, coordinating economic policies and unifying them. This has been embodied in the establishment of the free trade zone in 1983, the Gulf Customs Union in 2003, and the Gulf Common Market in 2008.


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