Report Series No. 12

The Gulf Cooperation Council : A Rising Power and Lessons for ASEAN


The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is comprises of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Possessing a significant share of the world's oil and gas reserves and including some of the world's fastest growing economies, the GCC is a significant regional grouping. As with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Council has made significant progress towards economic integration.


Seeking to draw out lessons applicable to ASEAN, this report looks at the structure and evolution of the GCC. This includes the context within which the council was etablished, its rationale, and economic importance. It then follows the organisation's development over time, paying particular imortance to its progress from Customs Union and Common Market towards Monetary Union. The report then sets out the key challenges ahead for the Council, and concludes by highlighting teh structural, organisational and political lessons that resonate with ASEAN and its membership.


The ASEAN Studies Centre requested Dr Linda Low, head of Strategic Planning of the Abu Dhabi Government, United Arab Emirates, and Dr Lorraine Carlos Salazar, senior research analyst with a leading global management firm, to write about the experience of the GCC integration and the lessons that it may hold for ASEAN. The GCC's economic data are provided at the end of the report.



Table Of Contents


Executive Summary

1. Introduction

2. The 1981 and 2001 Economic Agreements

3. The GCC Customs Union

4. The GCC Common Market

5. The GCC Monetary Union

6. Challenges in GCC Integration


Appendix 1: Macroeconomic Indicators for GCC

Appendix 2: Low Level of Merchandise Trade with Partners in Regional Agreements

Appendix 3:Bilateral Trade Complementarity Index, 2006

Appendix 4:GCC Foreign Direct Investment, 1996 to 2007

Appendix 5:Gross Foreign Reservers (including gold), 1996 to 2007

About the Authors