Gulf States Agree to Monetary Union For 2010, 5 Pct Customs Duty.
Oil-rich Gulf Arab states moved closer to economic unity Saturday as finance ministers set 2010 as a target date for monetary union and a single currency, and approved a five percent common customs duty on imports.
Bahraini Finance Minister Abdullah Hassan Saif told reporters at the end of a two-day meeting here the ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) also decided to bring forward the complete implementation of a customs union to 2003 from 2005.
The meeting, held at the GCC headquarters in Riyadh, also approved a "mechanism for collection and distribution of customs duties" and set the end of 2002 as the date to finalize the details for applying it.
The ministers also approved the modified form of the GCC unified economic agreement that calls for economic integration between members of the six-nation alliance.
The GCC, which groups oil powers Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates in addition to Bahrain, Qatar and Oman, also approved the US dollar as a yardstick for a single currency to be effective by 2010.
But the Kuwaiti dinar, pegged against a basket of currencies, mainly the US dollar, was given "a margin of movement" against the dollar, Kuwait's Finance Minister Yussef Al Ibrahim said -- RIYADH (AFP)
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