The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is a regional, political, and economic organization uniting six Middle East monarchies – Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. The alliance was established in 1981 with the purpose of enhancing the interconnection, coordination, integration, and security of its members.
At present, the GCC possesses around 50% of world’s oil reserves and is one of the wealthiest economic powers in the world. In order to achieve its objectives, the GCC establishes regulations and encourages cooperation in a number of fields, including finance, tourism, administration, agriculture, military, and research.
The organizational structure of the GCC consists of three main bodies, namely, (1) the Supreme Council consisting of the heads of the GCC member states, (2) the Ministerial Council consisting of foreign ministers and other government officials, and (3) the Secretariat General which organizes meetings and monitors policy implementation. The headquarters of the organization is located in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia.
Some of the major achievements of the GCC include the establishment of a single economic market in 2008, the creation of a joint military venture Peninsula Shield Force, the signing of an intelligence-sharing pact in 2004, as well as presenting a concept of a single regional currency.
At a meeting in Jeddah on 16th of June 2016, the GCC formally agreed to introduce value-added tax (VAT). The expected standard VAT rate is 5%. The introduction of VAT will create more than 5,000 new jobs for accountancy and tax executives. Qatar and the United Arab Emirates will be the first to adopt VAT regulations. By the end of 2018, these two countries will be followed by Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Bahrain.