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GCC Economic Integration: Focus on Nitty-Gritty of Convergence rather than High Profile Projects

  • Steffen Hertog
Publisher: Gulf Research Center
Date of Publication: Sep 2014
Publications Categories: Gulf Papers


While high-level politics within the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) can be contentious at times, regional economic cooperation has continued to develop involving private cross-border trade and investment. This includes, even if at a slower pace, technocratic cooperation on mundane regulatory issues. By many standards, GCC economic integration continues to be a success story. The public as well as high-level decision makers, however, have arguably focused on the wrong, highly visible but often too ambitious targets like monetary union. Even the much discussed customs union arguably is not as important for economic integration as less visible processes of gradual regulatory standardization and convergence that make cross-border investment easier. Therefore, more political capital should be devoted to the “nitty gritty” of common market integration, including the opening of critical sectors like aviation or banking, and further regulatory and administrative opening and convergence in retail, telecom, construction, tourism, and logistics

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