(MENAFN - Arab News) The Council of Ministers yesterday endorsed the 2012 version of the unified GCC customs tariff, which is expected to boost trade between the six-member group. It also decided to set up a national health data center.
Culture and Information Minister Abdul Aziz Khoja said the Cabinet, which was chaired by Crown Prince Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense, approved a number of resolutions taken by the GCC summit, which was held in Riyadh on Dec. 20, 2011.
At the outset of the Cabinet meeting, Prince Salman reassured all people about the health of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah, praying to Allah the Almighty to preserve the king and bestow upon him good health and quick recovery.
The Cabinet stressed the importance of the truce reached by the Palestinians and Israelis and called for concerted efforts to force Israel to implement the agreement and to lift its inhumane siege on the Gaza Strip.
The Cabinet approved the GCC decision to use smart card as proof of identity for GCC nationals in transactions at the public and private sectors, Khoja said. "The concerned authorities of the member states shall issue the legislation and decisions binding the public and private sectors to accept identity cards as proof of identity for GCC citizens," he said, adding that application of the system shall be based on the readiness of the member states to do so.
The Cabinet also approved the creation of a commission of GCC Customs Union and the timetable for the implementation of the final status of the Customs Union with all its requirements, taking into account coordination by the Ministry of Finance with the concerned authorities when examining the requirements of the Customs Union, which will be applied at the first port of entry of the GCC states.
The Cabinet endorsed the GCC plan to combat noncommunicable diseases. Provision of the necessary budgets to support the GCC ministries of health to address noncommunicable diseases shall be in accordance with the provisions and possibilities available to the Ministry of Health and the relevant authorities.