Mechanism of Achieving the Common Market
At the 28th Session (Doha, December 2007), the Supreme Council declared the launch of the GCC Common Market. The GCC Secretariat is following up finalization of respective national legislation in each Member State.
For the purpose of finding a reference to the laws and procedures for the GCC Common Market, the “Common Market” Document was adopted by the Supreme Council at the 29th session in December 2008.
In order to communicate with GCC citizens, communicating officers have been appointed for the GCC Common Market from all Member States, in addition to the Secretariat.
The tools enabling GCC citizens to benefit from the resolutions of the Supreme Council are also being completed through the following:
a) Measuring the degree of benefit by the GCC nationals from the Supreme Council’s resolutions concerning Economic nationality: The Secretariat dispatched detailed questionnaires seeking citizens’ opinions on the progress of the Common Market, results of such questionnaires are being analyzed for submission to the competent authorities
b) Continuing disseminating awareness among GCC nationals on the advantages they would obtain from the GCC Common Market. Media officials in member States have also held several meetings wherein they have approved a number of awareness promoting mechanisms.
c) Developing mechanisms for dispute settlement set forth in the Economic Agreement, which would provide a viable reference for GCC nationals and business relating to the settlement of disputes arising from the interpretation of Economic nationality.
Mechanism of Achieving the Common Market
At its 24th session (December 2003), the Supreme Council adopted a mechanism for following up the progress of the Common Market, which is as follows:
1. The competent ministerial committees shall propose necessary mechanisms for implementation of the GCC Common Market according to the time schedule set forth in the resolution of the Supreme Council at its 23rd session
2. Financial and Economic Cooperation Committees shall follow up the progress of the GCC Common Market in the light of Supreme Council’s resolutions and the Economic Agreement, and shall evaluate the stage of implementation reached in each aspect thereof, examine the difficulties hindering implementation and propose appropriate mechanisms for solving them.
While the Economic Agreement 1981 did not contain any downright provision relating to Economic nationality or the Common Market, the revised “Economic Agreement 2001″ provides that the objective of the equal treatment in the said ten fields is to achieve the GCC Common Market. The Agreement indicates further that achievement of Economic nationality is one of its objectives.
The preamble of the Economic Agreement 2001 includes an indication that the Agreement represents a response to the aspirations of the GCC citizens to achieve GCC nationalization, including equal treatment, movement and residence, work, investment, education, health and social services.
GCC Economic nationality
Economic nationality” is the realization of a fully equal treatment among GCC nationals in all economic fields in member States. However, the concept of “nationalization” has undergone several developments in the history of the GCC economic joint action. Article (8) of 1981 Agreement provides for only four areas, for example but not limited to that, where Economic nationality or equal treatment shall be achieved, these are:
Freedom of movement, work and residence,
The right of ownership, inheritance and will,
The freedom of engagement in economic activity,
Free movement of capitals
During the first two decades of establishing the GCC, the concept of equal treatment among GCC nationals was applied to many areas of the Agreement. In this connection, the GCC States have adopted important resolutions that provide for permitting the GCC nationals to engage in the economic activity in any Member State, but this was subject to certain controls for each economic area. That was implemented according to the gradual approach provided in the Economic Agreement 1981, and necessitated by the conditions then prevailing. However, in practice, it was found out that some of those controls were difficult to apply, which made the GCC nationals refrain from benefiting from the resolutions of the Supreme Council according them the right of equal treatment in those economic fields. For the joint action to shift from the stage of coordination and cooperation to integration, the trend adopted by the Economic Agreement 2001 tends to the direct application of the concept of fully equal treatment in all economic fields.
Article (3) of the Economic Agreement 2001 contains the most important provision concerning the Economic nationality. The said Article provides for direct implementation of the concept of fully equal treatment for all GCC nationals through according the GCC nationals residing in any Member State the same treatment accorded to its nationals without differentiation or discrimination in all economic fields; that includes natural and legal nationals. To emphasize this concept and eliminate any ambiguity, the Article mentions ten general economic fields, for example but not limited to that, where equal treatment is to be achieved among GCC nationals. These ten fields include the following:
1. Movement and residence
2. Work in private and government jobs
3. Pension and social security
4. Engagement in all professions and crafts
5. Engagement in all economic, investment and service activities
6. Real estate ownership
7. Capital movement
8. Tax treatment
9. Stock ownership and formation of corporations
10. Education, health and social services
The resolution adopted by the Supreme Council at its 23rd session (December 2002), identified a time schedule for completion of the requirements of the GCC Common Market, as follows:
a) Equal treatment shall be accorded to the GCC citizens by 2003 in the field of employment in the private sector, Stock ownership, formation of corporations and elimination of relevant barriers.
b) Equal treatment shall be accorded to the GCC citizens by 2005 in the field of government jobs, social insurance and pension and elimination of relevant barriers
c) Competent committees shall complete all requirements to ensure achievement of the GCC Common Market by 2007 at the latest.
This time schedule means going ahead with all the procedures that ensure full equal treatment among GCC citizens in all the fields specified in the Agreement, and elimination of all restrictions and controls that prevent achievement of full equality through updating the resolutions of joint action.