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

2000/11/15
1. A brief introduction of GCC

DATE OF ESTABLISHMENT On May 25th of 1981, the heads of states of the six Gulf Arab countries, i.e., the United Arab Emirates, the Sultanate of Oman, the State of Bahrain, the State of Qatar, the State of Kuwait and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, met in UAE, announced the establishment of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC), and signed the Charter of GCC.

OBJECTIVES To effect coordination, integration and inter-connection between member states in all fields in order to achieve unity between them, to deepen and strengthen relations, links and areas of cooperation between their peoples, to promote the development of industry, agriculture, science and technology, to establish scientific research centers, set up joint ventures and encourage economic and trade cooperation by the private sector.

SECRETARY-GENERAL Abdul-Rahman bin Hamad Al-Attiyah, Qatari, who was appointed in December 2001 and took office in April 2002.

HEADQUARTERS The Secretariat-General of GCC is in Riyadh, Capital of Saudi Arabia.

ORGANIZATIONS (1) The Supreme Council: the highest authority, composed of heads of member states. Its presidency is rotated yearly in the Arabic alphabetical order of the names of the member states. The president of this year is Emir of Bahrain Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa. (2) The Ministerial Council: composed of the foreign ministers of the member states or other delegated Ministers. The Council's presidency is rotated yearly in the Arabic alphabetical order of the names of the member states. (3) The Secretariat-General: taken charge by a Secretary-General and three Assistant Secretaries-General in charge of political, financial and military affairs respectively. The position of the Secretary-General is rotated in the Arabic alphabetical order of the names of the member states and appointed by the Supreme Council during the summit meeting with a 3 year term of office.

MAIN ACTIVITIES Ever since the establishment of GCC, the Supreme Council has held meetings yearly in November or December rotatorily in the capitals of the six member states. Altogether 21 summit meetings have been held by the end of 2000. It was decided at the 19th Summit Meeting to call an informal consultative meeting in between the annual summit meeting.. Ministers of foreign affairs, defense, interior, oil and finance of the six states also held the ministerial council meetings regularly or when necessary. The meetings mainly discuss important political, economic, foreign, security and military affairs faced by the six states or the Gulf and Middle East region, exchange information, coordinate stances, seek common policy and adopt concerted actions.

FOREIGN POLICY The six GCC countries adopt a neutral and non-aligned foreign policy and take moderate and practical measures. Facing the present new world situation, the six countries of GCC have increasingly shown a tendency of participating in international and regional affairs in the capacity of GCC as a whole, developing pluralistic foreign relationship and emphasizing on achieving equilibrium between major powers. On major world and regional affairs, they adopt a unified stand and play a collective role, reflecting the unity and integrity of the foreign policies of the six countries.

2. China's relationship with GCC

(1) Political relationship.

On May 27, 1981, just two days after the establishment of GCC, Huang Ha, Foreign Minister of China sent a telegram of congratulations to GCC Secretary-General Abdullah Bishara and China established ties with the organization. From 1990 on, the Foreign Minister of China met together every year the Foreign Ministers or their representatives of the six GCC countries and the GCC Secretary-General during the UN General Assembly in New York, exchanging views on Sino-GCC relationship and international and regional affairs of mutual interest. On September 27, 1996, Chinese Vice Premier and Foreign Minister Qian Qichen met the Foreign Ministers (or Deputy Foreign Ministers) of the six GCC countries and the GCC Secretary-General in New York. Both sides decided to establish a bilateral periodical consultative mechanism in political and economic fields and to hold consultations each year rotatorily in Beijing and Riyadh, where the headquarters of GCC is located. A news bulletin was published in this regard. Chinese Vice Foreign Ministers Tian Zengpei and Ji Peiding held two rounds of consultative meetings with GCC Secretary-General Hojeiran respectively in January 1997 and June 1999 during their visits to Saudi Arabia, In 2002, Chinese State Councilor Wu Yi met with Secretary-General Al-Attyah on the sidelines of her visit to Saudi-Arabia. China supports GCC's policy of unified self-improvement and common development and appreciates and encourages the active role played by GCC in pushing the Middle East peace process, restoring Arab unity, maintaining the peace and security of the Gulf region and promoting regional economic cooperation.

In April 2002, Chinese Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan sent a telegram of congratulations to Al-Attyah on his election as GCC Secretary-General.

On September 16, 2002, Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan met with the foreign secretaries or their representatives of the six GCC countries and GCC Secretary-General Al-Attyah en masse, mainly exchanging views with them on Sino-GCC relations, the Iraq question and the Middle East question on the sidelines of his attendance at the 57th United Nations General Assembly.


(2) Economic and trade relationship

TRADE Gulf region is the largest commodity market in the Middle East. China's trade with the six GCC countries has witnessed a fast growth. The total volume of trade between China and the six GCC countries in 2001 was US$9,700,000,000 (of which the Chinese import was US$5,700,000,000, and export US$4,000,000,000), and that in the first six months of 2002 was US$4,800,000,000 (of which the Chinese import was US$2,500,000,000, and export US$2,300,000,000). China mainly exports textile, clothing, mechanical and electrical products, light industrial products, food and edible oil while imports petroleum and petrochemical products.

LABOUR SERVICES CONTRACT Chinese labour services companies entered Gulf market in 1979. By the end of 2001, China had signed with the six GCC countries a total of 3, 131 contracts for undertaking labor services to the value of US$3,100,000,000, fulfilling a business turnover of US$1,910,000,000, with 15,042 Chinese contracted workers employed therein.
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