Kuwaiti parliament ratifies GCC monetary union agreement

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The Gulf Cooperation Council ( GCC) monetary union agreement on Tuesday sailed through the Kuwaiti parliament, in a move that pushed forward member states' initiative to a unified currency.

The country's Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammad Sabah Al-Salem Al-Sabah said at the parliament session the monetary union pact shows the solidarity and commitment of Kuwait and other member countries to joint efforts.

He added it might take around 10 years for the full adoption of a single Gulf currency, the official KUNA news agency reported.

As of now, all the four members among the GCC which sealed in June a pact to establish a monetary union council, a prelude to the launch of the initiated single Gulf currency, have approved the agreement.

Founded in 1981, the GCC groups Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Scattering on the largest oil-exporting region in the world, the six together holds around 40 percent of the world's oil reserves and pumps around 16 million barrels of crude oil per day.

Driven by oil revenues and growing financial muscle, the bloc in 2001 decided to spend 10 years in materializing a euro-style common currency in order to cement economic integrity.

But the road to that ambition was bumpy. In 2006, Oman shocked the bloc in decision to opt out the initiative, saying it was not ready to meet the preconditions. The UAE followed suit in May this year to protest against locating the joint central bank in Saudi Arabia.

The withdrawal of the two, especially the UAE, the Arab world's largest economy after Saudi Arabia, cast a shadow over the landmark plan and doubts have since arisen on whether the bloc can meet the goal as scheduled.

Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain in June this year agreed to set up a monetary union council, which officials said opened a door for the single currency to materialize.

According to the pact, the monetary council is scheduled to develop into a GCC central bank, which would be later responsible for the issue of the single currency.

Leaders of the six member states are to meet in Kuwait City on 14th and 15th of this month in their 30th summit, with the launch of the momentary union on their top agenda.


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