Ministry of Finance (MoF) held its first meeting with the Federal Customs Authority, Federation of UAE Chambers of Commerce and Industry and Chambers of Commerce and Industry in UAE to discuss GCC financial and economic integration at its headquarters in Dubai. Headed by Ibrahim Hassan Rashid Al Jarwan, Head of GCC & Arab Countries at MoF, the meeting was in line with efforts exerted to enhance GCC economic activities, follow up the workflow of the Gulf Common Market (GCM) and the GCC Customs Union. In addition the meeting discussed obstacles facing the private sector due to the GCC financial and economic integration and proposed mechanisms to overcome the obstacles.
During the meeting, MoF presented details about the GCM and the benefits it provides to GCC citizens in various fields. The GCM is one of the most important forms of economic cooperation and an advanced stage of GCC Customs Union established in 2003. It includes comprehensive elements of GCC Customs Union such as liberalizing trade services and investment, as well as facilitating the movement of capital, business, management and other factors that lead to the achievement of GCC economic citizenship.
MoF spoke about the operational phases implemented by the UAE to strengthen financial and economic integration and the work of the team formed to strengthen the GCM. Three working groups specialized in labor, health and economics were spun off out of this team. These groups are responsible for reviewing the resolutions of the GCC Supreme Council in respect to the GCM and for activating and developing the resolutions. The working groups follow up on GCM executive resolutions issued by relevant authorities and on complaints and constraints facing the working of the GCM.
Other constraints and obstacles facing the GCC common market such as discrimination in the treatment and non-realization of the principle of full citizenship were also discussed. Participants dealt with restrictions on real estate ownership for the purposes of investment and giving preference to local products or GCC products regardless of the quality and price. They highlighted the absence of unified and binding GCC laws, different accounting systems for companies, legislation gaps and lack of uniformity in implementation.
Commenting on the meeting, HE Younis Haji Al Khoori, Undersecretary of MoF, said: “Ministry of Finance is authorized by the Council of Ministers to represent the UAE in the meetings of the GCC Financial and Economic Cooperation Committee relating to the GCC economic integration. It seeks to enhance GCC financial and economic cooperation by organizing discussions and consultations with all parties concerned in the UAE. By organizing this meeting, the ministry would like to fill the gaps, overcome constraints and obtain more executive resolutions that would improve the working of the GCM, a vital step to secure GCC economic and financial integration. MoF aims at raising the private sector’s awareness of the importance of financial and economic integration. This will have a positive impact on the GCC citizens and economies.”
The Federal Customs Authority presented the strategic objectives of the Federal Government to modify customs in a way that facilitates trade in accordance with best international practice. The strategic objectives include strengthening the role of customs to raise the level of security of the community and to enhance customs relations with other countries and regional and international organizations to support economic development. The presentation spoke about efforts exerted by the UAE Federal Customs Authority to address obstacles facing trade between GCC countries. The authority develops mechanisms to secure the flow of commercial traffic from inside and outside the UAE and no effort is spared to reduce constraints affecting the development of UAE economy and trade. Tariff and the non-tariff barriers impeding the smooth flow of trade between the UAE and other GCC countries were also presented.
Ibrahim Hassan Rashid Al Jarwan, Head of GCC & Arab Countries at MoF, said: “UAE is at the forefront of GCC countries in respect of implementing resolutions relating to the GCM. We aim to maximize benefit to GCC citizens of GCM implementation. The UAE has issued a series of federal resolutions to upgrade the GCM implementation as well as to promote the benefits obtained by the local and GCC markets from the GCC common market.”
Participants praised MoF efforts and its active role to enhance the GCC economic and financial integration. They also thanked the ministry for organizing the meeting to promote the role of the private sector in the economic integration. The private sector plays a vital and essential role in achieving the GCC financial and economic integration.
It was agreed to hold more workshops and develop a plan to educate exporters, producers and private sector representatives in the UAE about the resolutions, recommendations and laws related to GCM and GCC Custom Union. It was also agreed to submit the private sector’s complaints to MoF and Federal Customs Authority about the obstacles they face while doing business and exporting products.
To learn more on GCM executive resolutions and to view complaints and comments, please visit the MoF dedicated page for the GCM at www.mof.gov.ae/Ar/GccCommonMarket.