Directory of Economic, Commodity and Development Organizations - table of contents




P.O. Box 59111                                           Telephone:   [966](1)482-7777
Riyadh 11525                                             Facsimile:   [966](1)482-9089
Saudi Arabia                                                          [966](1)482-7716
                                                                      (Economic Affairs)
                                                         Telex:       405050 KHALEEJ SJ
                                                         Cable:       KHALEEJIAH

          Secretary-General:          ...    Abdul Rahman AL-ATTIYAH



The text of the Charter for the Gulf Cooperation Council was agreed upon at a meeting of the Foreign Ministers of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, on February 4, 1981 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The Charter was signed by the Heads of State of these countries on May 25, 1981, in Abu Dhabi, at which time the Gulf Cooperation Council formally came into being.

The objectives of the Gulf Cooperation Council, as stated in the Charter, are to effect coordination, integration and interconnection between Member States in all fields in order to achieve unity between them; to deepen and strengthen relations, links and scopes of cooperation prevailing between their peoples in various fields; to formulate similar regulations in various fields including, inter alia, economic and financial affairs, agriculture, industry, commerce, customs and communications, education and culture, social and health affairs, information and tourism, and legislative and administrative affairs; to stimulate scientific and technological progress in various fields, to establish scientific research centers and implement common projects, and to encourage cooperation by the private sector.

A Unified Economic Agreement was signed in November 1981 and ratified in 1982. Its aims include free trade among Member States in all agricultural, animal, industrial, and natural resource products of national origin. Such products are exempted from customs duties and other charges having equivalent effect. The Agreement also aims at implementing a common external tariff and trade policy, and coordinating development. The initial implementation measures of the Unified Economic Agreement were taken in March 1983.

Set up in 1984, the Gulf Investment Corporation, with an authorized capital of US$2.l billion, aims to consolidate economic activities among member countries in agriculture, commerce, industry, mining, and general investment. The Corporation is authorized to participate in, provide loans for, and undertake joint development projects in member and other Arab countries.

The Gulf Standards Organization was created in November 1982 when the Saudi Arabian Standards and Measures Organization was transformed into a regional body serving all member countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council.

The Patent Office of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf was created December 1992 to carry out the implementation of patent regulation for the Cooperation Council and its by-laws, and authentication and publication of data particular to inventions, and any other functions assigned to it by the Board of Directors.

The GCC Commercial Arbitration Center was created in December 1993 to settle trade disputes between GCC citizens with each other, and between them and foreigners.


6 member countries: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates


The Supreme Council is the Gulf Cooperation Council's highest authority and is composed of the heads of Member States. Its presidency is rotated annually on the basis of the alphabetical order of names of Member States. The Supreme Council provides policy direction, reviews reports and recommendations submitted by subsidiary bodies, appoints the Secretary-General and approves the budget of the Secretariat- General, and approves the rules of procedure of the Commission for Settlement of Disputes and nominates its members. Resolutions are passed on the basis of unanimity for substantive matters and majority for procedural matters. The Supreme Council meets annually, and in Extraordinary session if requested by any member and seconded by another member.

The Advisory Commission for the Supreme Council is a 30-member body with seats equally distributed among the six member countries composing the GCC. Established in 1998, it provides advice on any subjects referred to it by the Supreme Council.

The Commission for Settlement of Disputes is formed separately for every case, based on the nature of the dispute. The Commission submits its recommendations to the Supreme Council for consideration.

The Ministerial Council is composed of Foreign Ministers or such other ministers as Member States may delegate. Its Chairman is rotated every year. The state that hosts the summit assumes the chairmanship for the year. The Ministerial Council proposes policies and prepares recommendations, studies, and projects aimed at developing cooperation between Member States and endeavors to encourage, develop and coordinate activities existing between Member States in all fields. Resolutions are passed on the basis of unanimity for substantive matters and majority for procedural matters. The Ministerial Council meets every three months, and in Extraordinary session if requested by any member and seconded by another member.

The Secretariat-General is headed by the Secretary-General, who is appointed by the Supreme Council for a three-year term, renewable only once. The Secretary-General nominates the Assistant Secretaries-General, who are appointed by the Ministerial Council to renewable three-year terms. The Secretariat-General is composed of the Office of the Secretary-General, Directorates of Political Affairs, Economic Affairs, Military Affairs, Environmental and Human Resources, Legal Affairs, Financial and Administrative Affairs, and an Information Centre. There is also the GCC Permanent Mission to the European Commission in Brussels headed by an Ambassador.


Economic Bulletin; Law Bulletin; Altaawn Journal

UPDATED by IMF:  August 26, 2002

Directory of Economic, Commodity and Development Organizations - table of contents