(MENAFN - Qatar News Agency) HE the Minister of Economy and Finance Youssef Hussein Kamal, who chairs the ministerial-level of the Arab Economic and Social Council's 24th session, on Friday said the activation of the Arab free trade zone must become a priority for Arab economic integration.
Speaking after receiving chairmanship duties from Iraq's trade minister, HE Youssef Hussein Kamal said achieving this goal requires the overcoming of all obstacles hindering the implementation of decisions issued in this regard, and the fulfillment of the requirements of setting up that zone before the end of 2013, including the launch of the Arab customs union before the full implementation of the zone in 2015, noting that a free Arab trade zone would influence the international trade and economy.
He added that one of the elements of Arab economic integration is to pay great attention to the issue of agricultural development and the Arab food security program as an Arab and international priority in the light of the world's major food shortage.
HE the Minister added that today's meeting comes amid political and economic challenges in regional countries and international economic repercussions and developments that overshadow Arab economies, noting that the Arab countries have been blessed with many natural and human resources, which, if properly exploited, can provide decent life, safety and security for the peoples of the region.
He noted that encouraging business sectors and configuring them to be growth leaders require the promotion of small and medium enterprises as a window of opportunity to employ the creative energies of the youth, achieve economic diversity and create real added value for the Arab economy.
HE the minister pointed to the significance of giving social issues more attention and fostering a major shift in the education, health and human resources development and women empowerment.
He highlighted the importance to prioritize the draft on illiteracy-combating among women of the region in social work so as to achieve a comprehensive and sustainable development, expressing hope to put decisions that will be issued in this regard into practice.
HE Youssef Hussein Kamal underlined Qatar's keenness to enhance Arab joint cooperation by supporting the Arab League's General Secretariat and its affiliated organizations in all that serves the Arab citizen.