Ras al-Khaimah: Country and Foreign Investment
The United Arab Emirates is a federation of seven hereditary emirates (also known as sheikhdoms): Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm al-Quwain, Ras al-Khaimah and Fujairah. The UAE is an absolute monarchy; there are no general elections and political parties are illegal. Power rests with the seven hereditary sheikhs (emirs), who choose a president from among themselves. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayid al-Nahyan, the ruler of Abu Dhabi, has been president since 3 November 2004.
Sheikh Saqr bin Muhammad al-Qassimi, born in 1918, was leader of Ras al-Khaimah emirate from 1948 until his death in 2010. He was succeeded by his son, Sheikh Saud bin Saqr al-Qassimi, who issued Emiri Decree Number 23 of 2010 on 6 December 2010 naming his eldest son, Sheikh Mohammad bin Saud bin Saqr al-Qassimi the Crown Prince of Ras al-Khaimah.
There is also a UAE Cabinet, with posts 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, and his deputy is Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi.
In addition, there is a unicameral advisory body known as the Federal National Council (FNC). It advises the Cabinet and the Supreme Council and can amend and review all legislation and also summon ministers to review and criticize the work of their ministries.
As per 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. Although there is a national government, each ruler is completely sovereign in his domain. The FNC has powers to amend and review all legislation and also to summon Ministers to review and criticize the work of their ministries.
The unified customs area of the Gulf Co-operation Council, in effect since 2003, applies to Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates (including Dubai). Since 2007, Yemen has expressed an interest in joining but has been rebuffed. The country is also a member of the League of Arab States, the Islamic Conference Organization and the United Nations.
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.
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.