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Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC)

Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC), also known as the Gulf Cooperation Council, an organization founded in 1981 to promote solidarity and economic, political, and social cooperation between the oil-producing nations of the Arabian Peninsula. Members are Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

Following dramatic global increases in the price of oil and natural gas during the 1970s, formation of the GCC represented an effort to manage economic growth and diversify the economic base of the region. GCC member nations agreed to abolish customs duties on domestically produced goods; harmonize banking regulations; coordinate trade, development, and industrial projects; and allow free movement of people and vehicles. GCC nations also undertook efforts to privatize publicly owned enterprises, such as state-run utilities. Taken together, these policy initiatives produced only modest results. Trade and investment between GCC countries continues to stagnate, and the bureaucracies of most government-owned enterprises remain overstaffed and inefficient. Led by Saudi Arabia, GCC nations have also coordinated defense operations and expenditures. In the 1980s they dramatically accelerated spending on sophisticated weapons systems and established a joint rapid deployment force to curb aggressors in the region. However, the relatively small populations of all GCC countries, with the exception of Saudi Arabia, and concerns about national sovereignty ultimately limited the scope and effectiveness of these self-defense efforts.



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Last modified: 07/13/08