Turkish Minister: Islamic states up trade coop

Turkish State Minister Kürşad Tüzmen has said that commercial and economic ties among Islamic countries are rapidly developing and stressed the need for barriers to trade and investment to be removed.

Turkish Minister: Islamic states up trade coop
Speaking at the 11th International Business Forum, held in Abu Dhabi by the Independent Industrialists and Businessmen's Association (MÜSİAD), Tüzmen suggested that a unified customs application and the streamlined transportation of goods be established between Islamic countries. He noted that the presence of hundreds of businessmen at the forum was an indicator of how fast commercial and economic relations among Islamic countries were thriving, adding that this situation was a source of hope for the future. Drawing attention to some of the problems that prevented large-scale progress, Tüzmen said, "Today is not the time to beat our chests. It is the time to talk about how we can leave these negative aspects behind."

He added: "Today the population of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) member countries has exceeded 1.5 billion, thereby comprising one-fifth of the world's population. It is obvious how great a force this overwhelmingly young population will be in the event it receives a good education. OIC member states achieved a 5.9 percent growth in total between 2003 and 2006, overtaking the world average. Their export volume topped $1 trillion, comprising 10 percent of the world's export volume. And with an $865-billion import volume, they reached 8 percent of the world's import volume. OIC member states own 70 percent of the entire energy reserves in the world. All these factors clearly show the power of the OIC members." Tüzmen stated that there was no need to rediscover the world in terms of improving economic cooperation among OIC member countries and that nobody denies the importance of regional bilateral or trilateral economic integration in economic development. "Looking at the examples of success in other countries, we should enhance trade relations and investment among ourselves," he said.

Turkey attached great importance to developing commercial and economic ties among Islamic countries, noted Minister Tüzmen, and gave his full support to the preferential trade system to be established among Islamic countries as the most important project of the Permanent Committee for the Economic and Commercial Cooperation of the Organization of Islamic Conference (ISEDAK). One of the main reasons for the major world trade developments in recent years is that new countries and regions have become important players on the international trade stage, Tüzmen said, adding that developing countries' share in world trade had increased along with energy and raw material prices. Tüzmen stressed that OIC member states must not miss this chance.

Tüzmen: You want to cooperate, but why not negotiate FTA?

During his speech, State Minister for Foreign Trade Kürşad Tüzmen told participant countries that "you desire to establish cooperation, but we have been trying to sign a free trade agreement with Gulf countries for eight years," adding that Turkey had signed a free trade agreement with Georgia after only two months. He asked why his counterparts were hesitating to negotiate an agreement. Tüzmen received cheers when he suggested some solutions to economic problems. He stated: "Muslim countries make up 20 percent of the world's population but only 5.5 percent of global wealth. The wind is blowing in favor of developed countries. If you cannot change the direction of the wind then you should change the sails. If there is no problem with the wind or the sails, then you have to change the captain."

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Güncelleme Tarihi: 28 Kasım 2007, 12:30