• Switzerland called for Gulf Schengen


    To apply the experience of Europe 25 years ago
     Switzerland called for Gulf Schengen for businessmen
    The Gulf Cooperation Council and Switzerland confirmed a desire to strengthen trade and cooperation between them, but the two days of debate to put tags leading to collaboration showed that increased trade is open and clear road, whereas cooperation in the field of higher education, scientific research, and the development of technical skills, needs further research and investigation, the forum discussions showed that the annual trade volume between the two reached approximately eight billion dollars last year, but with a clear imbalance in favor of Swiss exports dominated the 6.6 billion dollars of the trade balance between the two, or the equivalent of 80 % of trade that left 1.4 billion for exports of the six States of the Gulf.

    The trade between the GCC States and Switzerland has increased by an average of 7 percent a year, from $ 2.5 billion in 2000 to nearly eight billion in 2012. Participants agreed during two days of debate in the framework of the ' Swiss Gulf Forum' on trade is still far below its potential, and that there is still great potential for further progress in cooperation in areas other than trade, the potential of increased cooperation powerful too, particularly because the GDP for both parties is over $ 2 trillion, said the President of the Federation of GCC Chambers, Abdul Rahim Naqi.
    In his intervention, he said: there is huge potential for faster growth among private sector institutions in the fields of trade and investment, particularly the growth in GCC being outpace global growth weakness '. The overall GDP of Gulf States exceeded $ 1.5 billion in 2012, and it doubles every couple of years, and is expected to double again by the end of this decade. The discussions showed businessmen and economists and business experts also that bilateral cooperation in new areas such as higher education and scientific research, renewable energy and agriculture for example still needs to be established.
    The panelists agreed that such cooperation should not be limited to the public sector, but also help and encourage the private sector to have a share in the development of these areas. In addition, Prince Abdulaziz bin Abdullah, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of Switzerland, Yves Rossier, and Secretary-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council, Abdul-Latif Al-Zayani, promised to proceed with the development of relations between the two sides in other areas of trade. So after the Saudi Deputy Foreign Minister confirmed the importance of achieving security and stability in the region, Yves Rossier hoped to unite Switzerland and Gulf efforts to promote regional stability. On the economic front, Rossier said the free trade agreement signed in October 2009 between the Gulf Cooperation Council, and the European free trade area (EFTA) witch Switzerland is a member, along with agricultural cooperation agreement (EFTA) are just the beginning.
    He told the 250 participants in the Forum organized by the Gulf Research Center, we are confident that the two agreements will enter into force next year and they will be an engine of revitalization of our trade and mutual investment opportunities '. Rossier welcomed the decision of the Gulf Cooperation Council for opening Embassy in Geneva, as Secretary of the Board announced at today's meeting. He said that his country, confident that the exchanges between Switzerland and the Member States will continue to expand because of large economic potential enjoyed by the parties and their willingness to strengthen their cooperation, beside Abdulaziz Sager, Chairman of the Gulf Research Center mentioned that economic relations can developed between the countries of the Arabian Gulf and Switzerland, in fact it is excellent already in so many sectors.
    He said also that trade exchanges in the fields of pharmaceutical industry, financial services, food, and watches already exist for years. But there is still a possibility not being accessed to the enhanced cooperation in the areas of transport, renewable energy, tourism, insurance, health, and education, also discussants from Gulf asked to facilitate communication between the parties through meetings, sports and youth organizations, and Exchange host families for young students wanting to learn a language or vocational training.

    Gulf Schengen European-style
    Swiss official called on GCC States to consider a ' GulfSchengenstyle ' resemblance of the European Schengen 'meaning the six sisters in the Arab Gulf States to grant single entry visa for their countries. Erwin Bollinger Vice Chairman economic relations at the Ministry of economy Said, in his intervention during the discussions in "the Gulf Swiss Forum" that if Swiss businessman wish to visit countries in the region geographically proximate, he has to go over to the Embassy from the six countries for visas, and this takes time and effort witch complicates his task.
    «Economic» asked Bollinger, in an interview after the meeting, whether the Gulf countries currently eligible to do this step, he replied: 'Yes, absolutely, without a doubt. The Gulf is almost a State of Confederation one without the lack of coordination of small steps, ' and I don't know why they don't take these steps, they are eligible, he said, we know very well that the Gulf States are more sensitive in the security and stability for their countries, and their perception of security and stability is the same, and they are the best Arabic countries in security cooperation and coordination between them ,and because of this concern, it could reach the step of ' single visa' easily.

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