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  HE the GCCSG: The GCC Countries are Witnessing Significant Developments in the Economic Fields, as they have Achieved Many Important Accomplishments that Enhance their Position as a Regional and Global Financial, Investment, and Economic Centre

General Secretariat - Doha
His Excellency Mr Jasem Mohamed Albudaiwi, Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC),
stated that the GCC countries are witnessing significant developments in the economic fields, as they have achieved many important accomplishments that upgrade their position as a regional and global financial, investment, and economic centre, and their ability to face global economic challenges. 

"The GCC countries are working to accelerate the pace of work to achieve economic and development projects. This is attributed to the efforts of the esteemed Trade Cooperation Committee and other ministerial committees, in accordance with the directives of Their Majesties and Highnesses, the leaders of the GCC countries," he said. 

This came during the 66th meeting of the GCC Trade Cooperation Committee, held on Wednesday, May 1, 2024, in Doha, Qatar, under the chairmanship of His Excellency Shaikh Mohammed bin Hamad bin Qassim Al Thani, Minister of Commerce and Industry of the State of Qatar and the president of the current session, in the presence of Their Excellencies the Ministers of Commerce of the GCC countries.

At the beginning of the meeting, His Excellency the Secretary General of the GCC expressed his utmost gratitude and appreciation to His Highness Shaikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the Amir of the State of Qatar and the current chairman of the Supreme Council, for the support and assistance provided by the State of Qatar to the joint GCC work. 

During his speech, His Excellency pointed out that the GCC countries are moving forward in completing the necessary steps to achieve economic integration among them, stressing that the Council member states are making significant efforts to enhance cooperation and integration in the economic field in general, and the commercial field in particular, by overcoming obstacles and increasing the volume of trade between the GCC countries. 

"The intra-GCC merchandise trade volume reached about $127.4 billion in 2022, a 23.9% increase. This calls for the continued diligent work of the GCC countries to achieve economic unity," His Excellency said in his speech. 

He also stated that this GCC economic integration requires further efforts, especially as the desired economic integration will benefit all of the member states and contribute to diversifying the economy.

Furthermore, he added that the GCC countries are working on establishing strategic relationships with many countries and international economic groups in various fields, including the commercial field. 

He mentioned the recent ministerial meeting between the GCC's and China's trade and economic ministers in October 2023 in the People's Republic of China. 

"The two sides agreed in the joint statement that these meetings will be held regularly every two years, alternating between the GCC side and the Chinese side. Additionally, on the sidelines of the ministerial meeting, the GCC-China Economic and Trade Cooperation Forum and the Business Leaders Forum between the GCC and China were held. Currently, coordination is underway to hold the first session of the GCC-China Industrial and Investment Cooperation Forum this month.

Moreover, His Excellency indicated that the meeting's agenda included many topics, including integration among GCC countries in the investment field, the recommendations of the esteemed committees and working groups under the auspices of the Trade Cooperation Committee, which deal with intra-GCC trade, e-commerce, unified commercial laws, support for small and medium-sized enterprises, and other topics related to trade cooperation and integration among the GCC countries. Moreover, the updates on negotiations for free trade agreements with countries and international blocs were discussed, as well as addressing the challenges of intra-GCC trade.