Remarks by Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew at the Gulf Cooperation Council Finance Ministerial

U.S. Department of the Treasury | October 27, 2016

RIYADH – I would like to thank my colleagues from the Gulf Cooperation Council countries for inviting me to join you today, and particularly Finance Minister al-Assaf for hosting this meeting.  The United States has maintained a strong partnership with the GCC member states for decades, and you are strong partners in addressing regional and global economic challenges.  I expect this to remain so for many years to come. When our leaders met in Riyadh earlier this year, they agreed to enhance U.S.-GCC economic cooperation, including by launching a U.S.-GCC Economic and Energy Ministerial.  We consider today’s meeting an informal start to that dialogue, and I look forward to hearing your views for how we might best take it forward. I recognize the challenge posed to Gulf economies by lower oil prices, and admire the efforts and initiatives already undertaken by your governments to adapt to this new environment.  As your governments have recognized, through ambitious reform initiatives such as Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, there is a unique opportunity for each GCC member state to diversify its economy, expand opportunities for your people, and widen the financial base in order to make available additional resources to meet growing development needs.  Steps like these will expand educational and employment opportunities for individuals and families in the region, preparing them for success in today’s global economy.  Deeper and more sophisticated capital markets will catalyze private sector investment.  We also see great opportunities for cooperation as a group, as you have already shown with the forthcoming value added tax and the successful launch of the GCC Customs Union.

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