The GCC will complete the process of agreeing harmonised rates for customs duties within four months, according to Saudi Finance Minister Mohammad Ali Abalkhail. The committee considering the duties has agreed harmonised rates on 25 per cent of goods but the new rates will not be introduced until the committee has reported, he said.

Speaking after a meeting of GCC finance ministers in Riyadh on 14 September, Abalkhail said that ministers had agreed that finding a fixed exchange rate for GCC currencies is no longer the priority it had been some years ago. Since the establishment of the GCC, exchange rates have remained stable even without a written accord, he said.

Agreement has also to be reached on the re-export of foreign goods to other GCC states without the agreement of the local agent, Abalkhail said. While this is forbidden in some countries, others, such as Saudi Arabia, allow it.

The GCC is seeking to unify economic and monetary policies in preparation for a regional free-trade area.