LCCI WELCOMES MOVE TO SET UP ISLAMIC FREE TRADE AREAS

Once a framework is evolved, the situation of Muslim Ummah is bound to take a positive turn.

KHALID BUTT, Bureau Chief, Lahore
Nov 20 - 26, 2006

The Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry (LCCI) has lauded the World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) for coming up with a decision to establish Islamic Free Trade Area for the uplift of Islamic Ummah. The forum, in its concluding session, adopted the declaration urging the OIC countries to accelerate sub-regional cooperation leading to the establishment of Islamic Free Trade Area.

LCCI President Shahid Hassan Sheikh, Senior Vice President Yaqoob Tahir Izhar and Vice President Mubasher Sheikh told PAGE that the Economic Forum must concentrate on revitalizing the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC). They said that at this point of time, the Muslims all over the world are suffering due to one or the other reason and there is a need to make collective efforts for reducing poverty and improving living conditions of the people.

The LCCI office-bearers were of the view that the Muslims all over the world, despite big in numbers, have little influence in the world affairs and are accorded little respect in the international community of nations. They said Islamic countries should cooperate with each other on international economic issues, enhance unity and must be competitive and efficient producers of goods and services.

The LCCI office-bearers said that it is a matter of great concern for the Muslim Ummah that its share in the global trade is barely 7-8 percent while there is only 13 percent of total trade among the Muslim nations. No Muslim nation is among the group of developed industrialized countries.

They urged the Muslim leaders to evolve a strategy for creating an enabling environment for harnessing individual and collective potentials. They said that once a framework is evolved, the situation of Muslim Ummah is bound to take a positive turn.

The LCCI office-bearers also endorsed Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz's view of sharing of financial and commodity surpluses through institutional mechanisms driven by public private partnerships. The LCCI also supported the development of a WIEF Young Muslim Leaders Forum and its proposed initiatives and recommend that it collaborates with other similar existing bodies. They also endorsed to continue to facilitate networking and strategic alliances with non-Muslim businessmen to forge viable business partnerships thereby helping to contribute to international understanding, dialogue and peace.

BILATERAL INVESTMENT TREATIES

NO.

COUNTRY

AMONG MUSLIMS COUNTRIES

OTHER COUNTRIES

1

Bangladesh

6

18

2

Pakistan

21

27

3

Saudi Arabia

2

9

4

Malaysia

24

42

5

Turkey

25

46

6

Indonesia

18

40

7

Iran

21

27

8

UAE

14

17

9

Egypt

34

56

10

Lebanon

21

26

Source: World Investment Report, June 01 2005