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Unified GCC tariff set to boost trade

posted on 05/05/2002: 714 views

The coming unified GCC customs tariff is expected to further raise the level of inter-GCC trade that was standing at 5 to 7 per cent since the nineties, according to an Emirates Industrial Bank (EIB) study. Trade exchange between the GCC states stagnated during the last decade though it had notably risen during the years that followed the introduction of a GCC free trade area in the mid-eighties.

The free trade area allowed a free movement of products with national origin between the GCC states, said the study. The unified customs tax will also solve several pending issues concerning inter-economic and commercial cooperation as well as cooperation with other countries and international economic blocs.

The non-adoption of a single-point entry system and procedures on borders and the absence of a unified tax had obstructed inter trade exchange and re-export and slowed down the commercial movement. It also discouraged the movement of goods and services between the GCC states, and overburdened consumers with the payment of additional customs tariffs, every time the product is moved from a country to another, added the paper.

With the advent of January 2003, the GCC countries would have heavily moved towards the GCC common market and economic unity through the implementation of the unified customs tax and the single-point entry system. Practically, this means that the GCC region would be transformed into a huge and promising market. This will also have positive commercial and economic effects on the region, especially that the GCC states, following the implementation of the unified tax, would agree on a special mechanism for the distribution of customs revenues among them, said EIB.

The paper also noted that on the international level, the adoption of a GCC unified tax coincides with the implementation of decisions complying with WTO. This will actually guard the UAE against many problems like the 'Most Favoured Nations' principle that will be adopted by most WTO members starting 2005. The study stressed that a unified customs tax means raising coordination between the GCC states so that can present their demands collectively and acquire more gains in the new rounds of negotiations. The new rounds of negotiations on liberalisation of trade will discuss several sensitive issues and their outcome will impact on the future of several economic sectors, especially manufacturing. (The Gulf News)


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