(MENAFN - The Peninsula) QNA
Istanbul: Minister of Economy and Commerce H E Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim Al Thani called yesterday for studying practical steps towards establishing a joint Islamic market, based on a free-trade zone between Islamic countries. The zone can be established by removing customs and red tape gradually, similar to the Arab free-trade zone and the Arab Customs Union project. Speaking on behalf of the Arab group during the Standing Committee on Economic and Commercial Cooperation (COMCEC), he said that the meeting was taking place at a time of geopolitical risk and regional developments that requires Islamic countries to unite and enhance trade and investment ties.
The Minister praised the efforts of the Republic of Turkey in advancing joint Islamic work and carrying out COMCEC's new strategy. He said presidency of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to the committee is a good opportunity for it to undertake important initiatives that advances joint trade and increase it to 25 percent of foreign trade by 2025.
The Minister stressed that the most important element of sustainable development is political and social stability. He condemned Israeli aggression on people residing in occupied Palestine and called for implementing resolutions from the UN related to liberating all occupied Arab lands and establishing a Palestinian state with Al Quds as its capital. The Minister added that the key to prosperity was political stability and resolving crises peacefully. He called on supporting Islamic countries that were going through difficult times, to help them regain stability and end poverty.
The Minister said that Arab countries undertook recommendations of COMCEC regarding trade and opening the door for joint investments between Islamic countries. He reviewed the characteristics of the Qatari economy, which was laid by Emir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, and stressed the strength of Qatar's economy and its enjoyment of all the essentials to achieve the goals of sustainable development to citizens and residents.
He highlighted the recent international reports that praised the Qatari government's actions in order to create a balance in its financial and monetary policies and diversify its economic base.
He pointed out that the savings volume is about 56 percent of GDP while foreign investments constitute about 250 percent of the gross domestic product. He said the laws and regulations issued by Qatar have contributed to facilitate the procedures of doing business in the country according to international standards and gave foreign investors the opportunity to implement investment projects in various economic and service sectors with a percentage of ownership up to 100 percent. He thanked Erdogan and the Arab countries for the confidence which it extended to Qatar to speak on behalf of the Arab Group.