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Cabinet approves draft decree on common customs tariff for GCC

Cabinet approves draft decree on common customs tariff for GCC

DOHA: The Cabinet has approved a draft decree on common customs tariff for the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) member-states.

At its ordinary meeting yesterday, the Cabinet also approved a draft decision by the Prime Minister amending some provisions of Decision No 12 of 2013 on the formation of an e-Government Steering Committee, sources said.

The meeting, held at the Emiri Diwan, was chaired by HE the Prime Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al-Thani.

January 1, 2015, saw the formal inauguration of the full Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) customs union, according to an earlier report by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).

“The six GCC member-states have formally become a part of a customs union, completing a vision for a free-trade area with a common external tariff first outlined in January 2003,” EIU said. “The free-trade bloc now has a standard 5% levy on goods imported from outside the GCC and will have a single point of entry system for imported goods shared by all; customs duties are paid only once at the port of entry. Tariffs on goods produced in GCC member-states have been abolished.”

The result, it said, would be an EU-style common market, with no-intra Gulf tariffs. This should give a boost to both internal and external trade, although it is only one of many factors affecting trade, it was observed.

Intra-regional trade, EIU said, grew four-fold since the project was announced in 2003, reaching an estimated $100bn in 2014.

Meanwhile, the amendments to Decision No 12 of 2013 on the e-Government Steering Committee include the addition of representatives from the Ministry of Justice, Public Prosecution and the Supreme Judicial Council to the membership of the committee. The committee will also submit, to the Cabinet, a report every six months detailing the results of its operations and its proposals and recommendations as it deems necessary for the development of e-government programmes.

The committee, spearheaded by the Ministry of Transport and Communications under the chairmanship of HE the Minister of Transport and Communications and with the membership of representatives from the authorities concerned, will follow up on the implementation of the e-government strategy. It will “achieve co-ordination and communication between the Ministry of Transport and Communications and other ministries and government agencies in order to ensure that the plans and programmes of these parties are aligned with the overall e-government strategy”, according to the QNA report.

The Cabinet also approved a draft decision by the Minister of Interior regulating the grant of military and specialised titles for officers.

Under the terms of the draft decision, the military title shall be added to officers holding specialised professional certificates recognised by the Ministry of Interior. The specialised title will be awarded to officers holding a university degree (or its equivalent), following the completion of due procedures by the competent scientific entity and approval from the authority concerned.

The military title and specialised title shall be read and written after the rank.

The Cabinet also gave its nod to a proposal from the Ministry of Municipality and Environment to join the International Society of City and Regional Planners and approved a draft memorandum of understanding for co-operation in the field of sports between Qatar’s Ministry of Culture and Sports and Argentina’s Ministry of Education and Sports.