Ras Al Khaimah: Country and Foreign Investment
There are no elections or legal political parties in the UAE. Power rests with the seven hereditary sheikhs – also known as emirs, and hence the area ruled by an emir is known as an emirate – who control the seven traditional sheikhdoms (Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm al-Qaiwain, Ras al-Khaimah and Fujairah – each emirate is named after its principal town) and choose a president from among themselves. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayid al-Nuhayyan, the ruler of Abu Dhabi has been President since 3 November 2004, following the death of the UAE's Founding Father and first President Zayid bin Sultan Al Nuhayyan.
Sheikh Saqr bin Muhammad al-Qasimi, who was born in 1918, was the leader of Ras Al Khaimah from 1948 until his death in 2010. His son, Sheikh Saud bin Saqr al Qasmi, has been ruler of Ras Al Khaimah since October 2010. Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi issued Emiri decree Number 23 of 2010 on December 6, 2010 naming his eldest son, Sheikh Mohammad Bin Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi, the Crown Prince of Ras Al Khaimah.
There is also a UAE Cabinet, and its posts are distributed among the seven emirates. (The members of the Cabinet are the government ministers, such as Minister of the Interior, etc.)
The Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces is the President while the second in command (Deputy Supreme Commander) is Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi.
The parliament is known as the Federal National Council (FNC). It was established on February 13, 1972 and is considered a landmark in the country's constitutional and legislative process. The FNC advises the Cabinet and the Supreme Council but cannot overrule them. According to the constitution, the FNC consists of 40 members who are drawn proportionately from each of the seven emirates. Each ruler appoints the members for his emirate. Twenty of the 40 members are elected by the citizens of the UAE.
The FNC is structured as follows:
A Speaker and his two deputies and two elected observers.
The Parliamentary Section Executive Committee headed by the speaker, the council's undersecretary, the secretary general and four elected members.
There are also eight specialized committees dealing with studies regarding draft laws and general issues in addition to the legislative, legal, educational, health, social, planning, labour, oil and mineral resources, agriculture and fisheries and public work sectors.
The FNC has powers to amend and review all legislation and also to summon Ministers to review and criticize the work of their ministries.
Despite the fact that there is a federal government, each ruler is completely sovereign in his domain.
The UAE was a founding member of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) created at a summit conference in Abu Dhabi in 1981. The members of the GCC include Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the Sultanate of Oman as well as the UAE. The country is also a member of the League of Arab States, the Islamic Conference Organization and the United Nations.
On January 1, 2003, the unified customs area of the Gulf Co-operation Council came into effect, covering Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates (including Dubai). As of 2006, Yemen has been in negotiations with the existing member states, and hopes to join by 2016.
In April 2005, the 15th Joint Council and Ministerial Meeting between the European Union and the six member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council in Bahrain took place, focusing on the state of the free trade agreement negotiations between the European Union and the Gulf Cooperation Council.
The two parties agreed that rapid progress was needed on a number of outstanding trade issues, particularly on services, industrial tariffs and public procurement, and noted the importance of a rapid conclusion of the negotiations on human rights, terrorism, weapons of mass destruction and migration issues.
A joint communiqué was issued after the 20th EU - GCC meeting, which took place on 14 June, 2010 in Luxembourg. In the statement it said that "The EU and the GCC reiterated their continued commitment to the promotion and protection of all human rights and fundamental freedoms, in line with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and relevant international instruments."
Progress towards an EU-GCC trade agreement has been glacial, but in 2013 negotiations were said to be mostly complete.