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Cooperation Agreement between the EEC and the Gulf Cooperation Council

Cooperation Agreement between the EEC and the Gulf Cooperation Council

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Cooperation Agreement between the EEC and the Gulf Cooperation Council

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

External relations > Relations with third countries > Middle east

Cooperation Agreement between the EEC and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)

Acts

Council Decision 89/147/EEC of 20 February 1989 concerning the conclusion of a Cooperation Agreement between the European Economic Community, of the one part, and the countries parties to the Charter of the Cooperation Council for Arab States of the Gulf (the State of the United Arab Emirates, the State of Bahrain, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Sultanate of Oman, the State of Qatar and the State of Kuwait) of the other part.

Cooperation Agreement between the European Economic Community of the one part, and countries parties to the Charter of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (the State of the United Arab Emirates, the State of Bahrain, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Sultanate of Oman, the State of Qatar and the State of Kuwait) of the other part.

Summary

The six countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council and the European Community have drawn up a cooperation agreement aimed at strengthening their relations in a contractual and institutional form.

Economic cooperation should be as extensive as possible, not excluding any area. Here, and in the technical field, priorities are to encourage and facilitate:

  • diversification of GCC countries’ economies;
  • market research and trade promotion;
  • technology transfer and development, notably by means of joint actions and the protection of patents, trademarks and intellectual property rights;
  • the promotion of stable and balanced links between traders;
  • cooperation on standards and measures;
  • information exchange;
  • training.

In areas of agriculture, the agri-food industry and fisheries, the aims of cooperation are to step up exchanges of information and encourage contacts between companies and research institutions to promote common projects.

In industry, the aim is to encourage joint enterprises, develop industrial production and enlarge the economic base, and to organise contacts and meetings.

Information exchange is fundamental to cooperation for environmental and wildlife protection.

For energy, cooperation between energy companies must be facilitated, as must joint analyses of trade in crude oil, gas and petrol products. Exchanging ideas and information, training and studies are also part of energy cooperation.

Investment must be promoted and protected, particularly through agreements on promotion and protection to improve investment conditions.

In science and technology, research, scientific and technological development, technology transfers and adaptation, links between scientific communities and access to patent databases must all be encouraged.

Trade should be developed and diversified. The parties will study ways of eliminating trade barriers and will open discussions on an agreement aimed at developing trade. A common declaration on this matter follows at the end of the text. Pending agreement, both parties will grant each other the status of most favoured nation, which is the subject of a letter from the Community attached to the agreement.

General and final provisions

A Joint Cooperation Council is set up. It will periodically lay down the general guidelines for cooperation, act as an arbiter in the event of dispute and seek means of putting cooperation into practice. Its decisions are binding on party States, and its presidency is rotated between the EC and the GCC countries. It is assisted by a joint cooperation committee, and may decide to set up further committees.

Parties must exchange information and consult the Joint Council regarding useful information that has a direct incidence on the Agreement, or possible problems in the general functioning of the Agreement or concerning trade.

This Agreement does not prevent the conclusion of bilateral agreements, providing that they do not conflict with this Agreement. Its duration is unlimited, and if one party renounces it in writing, its application will cease six months after the notification date.

For more information about relations between the EC and the GCC, see the GCC page on the DG RELEX website.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Council Decision 89/147/EEC 01.01.1990 OJ L 54 of 25.02.1989

Related Acts

Commission communication of 22 November 1995 on “improving relations between the European Union and countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council” [final – Not published in the Official Journal].

 

Improving relations between the EU and the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council

Improving relations between the EU and the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Improving relations between the EU and the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

External relations > Relations with third countries > Middle east

Improving relations between the EU and the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council of 22 November 1995 on improving relations between the European Union and the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) [COM(95) 541 final – Not published in the Official Journal]

Summary

Context

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) was set up in 1981 and brings together Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Oman. Ever since its creation, it has been keen to establish links with the European Community, including a free trade agreement that has still not been concluded.

A Cooperation Agreement, however, has been in place since 1988, and is aimed at strengthening relations and preparing the free trade negotiations. Since then, the Gulf War and the GCC’s reservations on the text have blocked the conclusion of the free trade agreement. The Cooperation Agreement, for its part, has yielded only limited tangible results.

The importance of the EU-GCC relationship lies in the parties’ extensive interdependence in terms of energy, trade and investment. The EU needs energy supplies from the GCC countries, and the EU Member States in turn represent a major market for the GCC’s exports of refined petroleum products, petrochemical products and aluminium. The EU is also one of the largest investors in the GCC.

Improving relations

The Commission reiterates the recommendations made at the Ministerial meeting in Granada in July 1995 to boost EU-GCC relations. These include:

  • strengthening the political dialogue;
  • increasing economic cooperation and unblocking the ongoing free trade negotiations;
  • developing instruments of cultural and scientific cooperation to promote increased reciprocal knowledge.

The need to strengthen political dialogue arises from current shortcomings, such as the infrequency of ministerial meetings. The dialogue would provide an opportunity for both sides to better appreciate the extent of their shared political and security interests. The Middle East peace process and the Mediterranean policy could benefit from the strengthened dialogue, which would also enable the two sides to discuss the issues of human rights, democracy and the prevention of terrorism.

Given their interdependence, strengthening the framework of energy and economic interests can benefit both regions, since more GCC investment in EU refining and downstream activities would go hand in hand with EU countries’ investment in GCC upstream and downstream energy and energy-related activities. Obtaining a preferential trade agreement benefiting both sides and diversifying its industrial base to prepare for the post-oil age are still major concerns for the GCC. A free trade agreement would enable economic operators on both sides to develop cross-investments, pursue vertical integration and conclude industrial alliances.

The Commission also recommends that action be taken to improve mutual understanding, considering that relations have not produced a degree of contact to assist in the development of official links. It is therefore necessary to find new areas of cooperation and develop existing ones, such as information and communication technologies, scientific cooperation and the environment. For the Commission, a key new area is decentralised cooperation, involving civil society and non-governmental organisations, which could contribute to mutual understanding. It also recommends that a delegation should be opened in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia.

There is, finally, a need to improve thequality of relations to highlight the role Europe plays in the GCC’s economic security. In the Commission’s view, the EU-GCC relationship is so important that it cannot be left to take care of itself; it also adds regional value to bilateral relations.

Conclusions and recommendations

The Commission concludes by recommending that the Council:

  • reaffirm the strategic importance of a strong GCC;
  • reaffirm its commitment to the development of relations;
  • include the GCC countries in the EU’s strategy for improving relations with other regions, in particular with the Mediterranean area;
  • reaffirm its desire to achieve a qualitative improvement in these relations;
  • reinforce EU-GCC political cooperation at ministerial level.

For its part, the Commission undertakes to identify obstacles to progress in the free trade negotiations and to study the possibility of presenting a complementary mandate for negotiation on services. It must also make proposals for applying the Cooperation Agreement and improving mutual understanding through increased contacts.