Abu Dhabi,23rd April 2003(WAM)
Arab Ministers of finance and trade concluded their meetings here today on policies to integrate foreign trade into development plans of Arab countries. The meeting was opened earlier in the day by Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance and Industry, in the Presence of Dr. Supachai Panitchpakdi, Director General of World Trade Organisation (WTO ).
In his opening remarks , Sheikh Hamdan said the meeting came at time of turbulent economic conditions regionally and internationally, despite sustained efforts to re-inforce the growth of the global economy and realisation of a multi-lateral global trade system.
Sheikh Hamdan told the meeting that the importance of integrating foreign trade policies into development plans could be seen from the experience of the UAE and GCC countries, where inter-GCC trade achieved astounding results and led to establishment of a custom union, which will in turn be crowned with a monetary union in 2007. He expressed hope that Arab countries would emulate the GCC example so as to achieve greater integration of their economies and thereby re-infroce their negotiating position with the WTO as one economic bloc.
Sheikh Fahim Al Qasimi, Minister of Economy and Commerce also re-affirmed the importance of the meeting , saying that it was aimed at achieving development through liberalising trade. The key to success in this policy is proper coordination between trade and financial policies, he said .
Note:A delegation headed by Hussein Mohamoud Sheikh Hussein, the Minister of Finance of the Transitional National Government (TNG) represented Somalia in this meeting .