GCC mulls end to gold customs duty

Gold traders have recommended a common Gulf stamp for their products to curb losses (FILE)

Gulf oil producers are considering exempting gold trade within the region from customs duties as part of their historic common market and customs union, their private sector leader was quoted on Tuesday as saying.

Representatives from the Federal of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FGCCI) discussed the proposal at recent talks in Bahrain, where regional gold dealers were present.

“GCC countries are now considering a proposal to exempt gold and jewelry imports among them from customs tariffs and to enforce a unified gold stamp,” FGCCI secretary general Abdul Rahim Naqi told the Saudi daily Alwatan.

He said GCC gold traders recommended a common Gulf stamp for their products to curb losses inflicted by payment for various stamps in member states.

“The gold traders also believe that exempting gold and jewelry imports within the GCC from customs tariffs will support the domestic economy as this will give a strong push to the gold sector in the region,” he said.

“We have adopted their recommendations and are studying it to determine the economic feasibility of this proposal before presenting it to the authorities.”

Alwatan quoted a GCC official as saying member states impose a five per cent tariff on foreign gold imports but exempt home-made jewelry from duties.

It said representatives from the Riyadh-based GCC secretariat, FGCCI and gold traders would meet in the Saudi capital within three months to discuss the recommendation for lifting tariffs on inter-GCC gold trade.
The GCC groups the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman in an economic, political and defence alliance created in 1981.

The six members have launched a customs union and a common market while four of them created a landmark monetary union last year after the UAE and Oman said they were quitting for different reasons.

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