The Joint Gulf Market at the Beginning of 2008

At a time the GCC countries are facing evident obstacles and continuous differences on the issue of the fiscal unity among them, we see these countries agree today on the necessity of starting implementing the agreement of the joint market according to the schedule adopted by the higher council in its 23rd session held in December 2002.
It is a new integrated step among the economies of these countries, the aim of which will be deepening and strengthening the economic integration among them specially that they all have very similar economic infrastructure. _ On a technical level, this step will allow the citizens of the GCC countries to be treated in any country of the member states the same as the citizen of that country without any discrimination in all economic fields, and specially practicing all economic, investment and service activities as well as practicing professions and dealing as well as buying shares and establishing companies.
Moreover, they will be able to work in the governmental and non governmental sectors and to have social insurance, retirement and owning real estates and transforming capitals and getting benefit of the educational, social, health services. So will the GCC countries will succeed in committing themselves to the principles of the joint market?, and will this market be a basis for a joint Arab market or will it be isolated from the rest of the Arab economies?

$9.6 bn, Syria’s Imports Last Year

News reports mentioned that Syria’s imports during last year have reached 491 billion Syrian pounds ($9.6 bn) the official Al-Thawra newspaper quoted the Directorate of Planning and Statistics in the Custom House that cars, trucks, and motorcycle came first on the list of imports in terms of value reaching 52.7 billion Syrian pounds followed by electrical equipment with a total of 36.4 billion Syrian pounds.

Qatar International Bank Intends to Establish an Islamic Insurance Company in Syria

Qatar Islamic International Bank said that it intends to take part in establishing an Islamic Insurance Company in Syria the bank added in a statement published on the web site of the Qatari stock market that it will own a share of 20% in the capital of the company which will reach $20 m.

Iran Calls for Forming the Bank of “South-South” at Unido Summit

Iranian Assistant Minister of Industry and Mining, Mohsen Shater Zada called on Wednesday and before the last day of the concluding meeting of the UN for industrial development Unido, for establishing the bank of south-south among the developed countries. Shater Zada said that one of the most important problems of the south countries is the lack of financial and insurance resources.

The Fund of Kuwait National Bank for Shares Achieves 34% of Revenues

The revenues of Kuwait National Bank for Gulf Shares have recorded 34% in the first ten months of this year. The Kuwaiti news agency Kuna quoted Salah al Faleej, the General Director of the Group of Investment Services and Treasury in the Bank as saying that the fund achieve in its first year revenues estimated at 16%, adding that the strategy of the fund is based on increasing the value of the capital on the long term through investment in the shares of the Gulf stock markets and in the market of the Middle East countries and north of Africa.

Small Indexes

- The directorate of energy data in America said that the reserves of the US of crude oil have declined to their lowest level ever since March 2005.
- The Iranian Minister of Oil said that Iran needs investments estimated between $150-160 bn in the sectors of oil and gas for increasing its production capacity.

Companies Indexes

- The International Dubai Cinema Festival said that Dubai International Financial Center will take part in the festival as the only sponsor among the criteria “with support from”.
- The international Iwan Housing Company has revealed that it is carrying out real estate project with a total cost $320 m north of Jeddeh city, west of Saudi Arabia on a total space area of 2 million square meters.

Conferences

- The third international Syrian agricultural exhibition was opened with the participation of more than 15 Arab and foreign countries like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Belgium, Turkey, Holland, China and Russia.
- The activities of the 146th abnormal ministerial conference of the OPEC countries have started in Abu Dhabi with the participation of Syria as an observer.

Bids

- The Indian Afco company and the Jordanian government have concluded a deal for building an integrated factory for producing phosphoric acid in al Shedeh area south of Jordan with the aim of producing phosphate fertilizers in the factories owned by India with a total investment cost of $570 m.
- Press Trust news agency said that India and Russia have signed a military deal with a total value of 1.237 billion to sell India 347 additional tanks of T-90s model.

Indicators is a daily economic watch newsletter about the Near East, issued by New Orient News agency in Beirut, Lebanon. It is available on Voltairenet.org in Arabic and English. Also worth a read is Tendencies, the daily Near East political watch newsletter, available in Arabic, English and French languages.