Abu Dhabi: Companies owned by citizens of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries will be allowed to open branches for the same activities across the six-nation bloc, according to the communiqué of the 31st GCC Summit.

The company dossier was approved by the GCC nations and a decision to the effect is expected to begin in 2011, Abdul Rahman Bin Hamad Al Attiyah, secretary General of GCC said at a press conference after the summit closed in Abu Dhabi.

He highlighted that this move will help deepen economic activities and improve joint investment among GCC nations.

Equal treatment

Moreover, these companies will enjoy equal treatment wherever they have branches to their firms across the GCC.

This decision is part of the Gulf Common Market (GCM) performance and will ensure the efficiency of this market, Al Attiya added. Moreover, he remarked that the Gulf nationals better understand the GCM's benefits, market potential and best practices.

Al Attiyah indicated that the Gulf Common Market was a cornerstone of economic integration.

In addition, it had encouraged the adoption of a raft of common economic, agricultural, commercial and economic development policies.

"This will enlarge the scope of the GCM and ease the transport and flow of goods and services across GCC countries," he said.

In the final communique, the GCC policymakers have expressed their satisfaction with the economic performance in the Gulf along with remarkable economic and social growth.

Moreover, Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Foreign Minister, said that Bahrain's and Qatar's strategic vision to develop an integrated GCC economy is very important and deserves the attention and appreciation of the summit leaders. The submitted strategies have an incentive role towards common investment and development in the Gulf and empowers the GCC role, Shaikh Abdullah added.

In addition, the final statement of the GCC Summit approved unified laws for anti-dumping and finding the necessary precautionary and compensative measure. This is to meet the World Trade Organisation and trade international standards. In addition to that, Al Attiyah remarked that there is a consensus among the six member states on eliminating all problems and obstacles related to the Gulf Custom Union.

Non-customs disputes

Also the communique is looking to develop and upgrade the mechanism of the customs union as well as remove all customs and non-customs disputes among member states to ease the intra-trade across GCC and worldwide.

On the GCC railway network, the Summit will go ahead with the design and pledges to expedite the completion which approved to be completed by 2017.

Al Attiyah said: "A feasibility report on the project has been submitted to GCC policymakers and approved awaiting the completion of the engineering design of the rail to be certified to be endorsed in the next Summit."

Monetary union bid

Abdul Rahman Bin Hamad Al Attiyah, secretary General of the GCC, is very optimistic about the UAE rejoining the GCC monetary union. He said that the Summit did not discuss the issue of the UAE going back to the single Gulf currency project.

He said: "Participation of the UAE, the second largest economy in the GCC, is very important to achieving a monetary union."

In an apparent attempt to get the country back into the union, Al Attiyah said: "We wish to bring the UAE back to the monetary union in the near future."

Without giving any highlights about the timeline of unified currency project, he remarked that GCC policymakers of the four member states, excluding the UAE and Oman, have a consensus on the technical details of the monetary union project, including the establishment of the monetary council and all other procedures and actions have taken to make the union feasible.

Talking about the Gulf power grid, the GCC has decided to go ahead with the third phase of the power grid which would be completed by 2011.