By M. Ghazanfar Ali Khan, Arab News Staff
Publication Date: 
Mon, 2001-08-13 03:54

RIYADH, 13 August — Ministers of industry from the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) will attend a major conference later this year in Riyadh in a renewed bid to attract more foreign investment into the Gulf states and examine its impact on the private sector.

This comes in the wake of the introduction of new investment regulations.

The foreign direct investment (FDI) that has flowed into GCC countries during the last decade is small compared to that in countries like China and Malaysia.

By improving their investment climate, the Gulf states can potentially attract more FDIs and at the same time encourage the repatriation of over SR750 billion GCC capital invested in the US and Europe.

The GCC General Secretariat announced that the conference will be inaugurated on Oct. 20 and will be attended by a large number of industrialists and several international organizations. This is part of a more general plan to unify the industrial policies of the Gulf governments and promote GCC-made products globally.

More than 7,500 manufacturing units have been set up in the six GCC countries at a cost of $84 billion, producing 4,000 different products.

According to a report released by the Gulf Organization for Industrial Consulting (GOIC), out of $84 billion invested in these units, some $31 billion is foreign capital, constituting 37 percent of the total.

The report added that GCC countries will need $11 billion annually to sustain the present rate of growth in the industrial sector. They will require a cumulative capital of $154 billion before 2010 to set up various industrial projects. The six states have already implemented 51 projects out of a total of over 250 proposals so far put forward by the GOIC.

Other major topics to be discussed during the forthcoming GCC conference include regional and international investment opportunities, new investment regulations, legal protection, technology transfer and local financing.

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