Islamic countries have potential to double global trade share by forging unity

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Salim Ahmed

Lahore

The looming economic challenges facing the Islamic bloc need for urgent unswerving unity and frequent close result oriented interaction of all Muslim countries to improve its intra trade by 25 per cent in the next 10 years via the “Trade Preferential System, other legal frameworks, effective mobilization of financial instruments and infrastructure support.
Life member, Islamic Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) and SAARC Chamber Vice President Iftikhar Ali Malik said this while talking to a high level delegation of traders from Arab countries here at luncheon hosted by him in their honour.
Malik said the current level of trade among Muslim countries is estimated around 19 per cent of the total global trade. This can be increased to a great extent if the existing trade barriers are removed among the Muslim countries besides forging un-shakable unity in their ranks by ironing out their regional differences in the larger interest of the welfare of the Muslims in the region.
While discussing the global share of trade pertains to Muslim countries, he said that the trade among the Muslim countries is currently 19% of abysmal global trade. He said that this share was 15% in 2005 which indicates a slight improvement of 4% in the time span more last one decade. He informed that mutual trade volume between EU member countries is 64% of global trade, NAFTA share is 49% ASEAN share is 25% of the global trade.
Answering a question, he said the trade relations among the Muslim countries, he referred the report of Islamic Centre for Development of Trade, ICDT and said that according to this report the main obstacles to the development of intra-OIC exports are the cost of developing new market, foreign exchange risks, the cost or supply of labour, regulation of foreign government, the collection of information on member states markets getting licenses or bonds and local partners.
He said the worrisome alarming situation hovering around Islamic region warrant the interaction of all countries in the Islamic Chamber to push for Islamic economic cooperation efforts, overcome economic challenges, and address issues of community development in an active manner.
He also pointed to the importance of the development of the financial resources of the Islamic Chamber to enable it to play its role toward these issues.
Iftikhar Ali Malik called for the strengthening of economic cooperation between Islamic countries and doubling the volume of trade exchange between them via the spread of greater trade and investment opportunities available in Islamic countries.
He said that the more interesting fact that share of trade of Muslim countries with EU countries is 20% and with China it is 13%.
He stressed the need of setting the tone of proceedings to channel the resources of the Islamic world to address the rising threats of Islamophobia and sectarianism, along with resolving the current situations in Syria, Yemen, Libya, Afghanistan, Somalia, Mali, and Armenia’s aggression toward Azerbaijan.